Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Iran, the United States and the International Court of Justice

On October 3, 2018, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on the following case:

While we may be aware of the headline news coverage of this ruling, there is a significant amount of background material that has not been covered by the Western media, a background that I will cover in this posting.

Back on July 16th, Iran filed proceedings against the United States regarding the alleged violations of the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relation and Consular Rights which was signed between Tehran and Washington and entered in to force on June 16, 1957.  According to the Treaty, we find the following:

"Article 1: There shall be firm and enduring peace and sincere friendship between the United States of America and Iran.

Article 10: Between the territories of the two High Contracting Parties there shall be freedom of commerce and navigation.

Article 21: Each High Contracting Party shall accord sympathetic consideration to and shall afford adequate opportunity for consolation regarding, such representations as the other High Contract Party may make with respect to any matter affecting the operation of the present Treaty.

Any dispute between the High Contracting Parties as to the interpretation or application of the present Treaty, not satisfactorily adjusted by diplomacy, shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice, unless the High Contracting Parties agree to settlement by some other pacific means."

Those articles quite clearly state the intentions of the Treaty.

Iran requested the following at the end of its Request for the indication of provisional measures by the ICJ:

"1.) That the USA shall immediately take all measures at its disposal to ensure the suspension of the implementation and enforcement of all of the 8 May sanctions, including the extraterritorial sanctions, and refrain from imposing or threatening announced further sanctions and measures which might aggravate or extend the dispute submitted to the Court;

2.) That the USA shall immediately allow the full implementation of transactions already licensed, generally or specifically, particularly for the sale or leasing of passenger aircraft, aircraft spare parts and equipment;

3.) That the USA shall, within 3 months, report to the Court the action it has taken in pursuance of sub-paragraphs (a) and (b);

4.) That the USA shall assure Iranian, US and non-US nationals and companies that it will comply with the Order of the Court, and shall cease any and all statements or actions that would dissuade US and non-US persons and entities from engaging or continuing to engage economically with Iran and Iranian nationals or companies;

5.) That the USA shall refrain from taking any other measure that might prejudice the rights of Iran and Iranian nationals and companies under the Treaty of Amity with respect to any decision this Court might render on the merits.”

Here's how the United States justifies its actions under the Treaty of Amity to the ICJ:

"1.) The Parties to the treaty do not contest the existence of a dispute between them, however, the United States argues that the dispute between the Parties does not relate to the "interpretation or application" of the 1955 Treaty and is related directly to the JCPOA, a multilateral agreement that does not provide for the jurisdiction of the ICJ.

2.) The imposition of sanctions announced on May 8, 2018 are aimed at addressing the shortcomings of the JCPOA.

3.) The reimposition of nuclear-related sanctions that were lifted pursuant to the JCPOA is based on a "core national security issue" and, as such, falls within the "essential security" provision of the Treaty of Amity."

The ICJ also notes that "neither Party contends that they have agreed to settlement by any other peaceful means" and that the dispute has not been "satisfactorily adjusted by diplomacy" as stated in Article 21.

Here's a summary of the Court's ruling:

"The Court considers that the United States, in accordance with its obligations under the 1955 Treaty, must remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from the measures announced on 8 May 2018 to the free exportation to the territory of Iran of goods required for humanitarian needs, such as (i) medicines and medical devices; and (ii) foodstuffs and agricultural commodities; as well as goods and services required for the safety of civil aviation, such as (iii) spare parts, equipment and associated services (including warranty, maintenance, repair services and safety-related inspections) necessary for civil aircraft. To this end, the United States must ensure that licences and necessary authorizations are granted and that payments and other transfers of funds are not subject to any restriction in so far as they relate to the goods and services referred to above....

The United States of America, in accordance with its obligations under the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights, shall remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from the measures announced on 8 May 2018 to the free exportation to the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran of:

(i) medicines and medical devices;

(ii) foodstuffs and agricultural commodities; and

(iii) spareparts,equipmentandassociatedservices(includingwarranty,maintenance,repair services and inspections) necessary for the safety of civil aviation;

The United States of America shall ensure that licences and necessary authorizations are granted and that payments and other transfers of funds are not subject to any restriction in so far as they relate to the goods and services referred to above."

The Court also noted that:

"Both Parties shall refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve".

As we know, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States was withdrawing from the 1955 Treaty of Amity:

Today marked a useful point, with the decision that was made this morning from the ICJ, this marked a useful point for us to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of the Treaty of Amity between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

We’re disappointed that the court failed to recognize that it has no jurisdiction to issue any order relating to these sanctions measures with the United States, which is doing its work on Iran to protect its own essential security interests.

Given this recent speech from Mike Pompeo to the recent meeting in New York of the United Against Nuclear Iran Summit, a group that reeks of the new global international order as shown here:

Here is the speech in its entirety:

"The Iranian regime’s track record over the past 40 years has revealed it as among the worst violators of the UN Charter and UN Security Council resolutions – perhaps, indeed, the worst violator. It is truly an outlaw regime.

Let’s look at the UN Charter. It calls for our nations to “live together in peace with one another as good neighbors.” And where there is a threat to peace, it requires UN member-states to carry out decisions made by the Security Council as to what must be done to address that threat.

Has Iran lived together with other nations in peace? Has it been a good neighbor? Has it contributed to the maintenance of international peace and security by fully abiding by the decisions of the Security Council? Let’s take a little walk around the world, and you’ll see the answer is a deafening “no.”

He (Senator Daniel Moynihan) once said that, “The United Nations Charter imposes two obligations on members. The first, which is well-known, is to be law-abiding in their relations with other nations: not to attack them, not to subvert them, and so on. But there is a second obligation, which” is – “very simply is to be law-abiding in the treatment of one’s own citizens” as well.

Iran has failed on both obligations.

Ambassador Moynihan also once said “everyone is entitled to his opinions but not to his own facts.”

The fact is that Iran’s charm offensive behind closed doors cannot cover up its string of broken promises in the Security Council chamber.

The fact is that the Iranian regime robs its own people to pay for death and destruction abroad.

The fact is that the outlaw Iranian regime has sabotaged the ability of the people on every continent to live in peace and dignity, including its own country.

The United States asks every nation to come to term with these facts and hold Iran accountable in ways that it has not been held accountable to date.

Only then – only then – can we take new and true steps towards greater security for our own peace-loving people and greater liberty for those inside of Iran."

Here's one key rather ironic line from the speech given Washington's withdrawal from the Treaty and its ignoring of the ICJ ruling:

"It (Iran) has no regard for international law, borders or lives."

From these recent actions, we have learned two things:

1.) Treaties with the United States are worthless when Washington no longer feels that they are useful to their agenda.

2.) The United States will continue to ignore rulings by international bodies that are not in favour of Washington's narrative.

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