US to defend against Iran lawsuit over sanctions: Pompeo

Washington, Aug 28: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Washington will defend itself in a case brought up by Iran in The Hague to protest the US exit of the landmark Iran nuclear deal, and US re-imposition of sanctions that were lifted under the deal.

In a statement, Pompeo said that Iran’s filing with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is an attempt to interfere with the sovereign rights of the US to take lawful actions, including re-imposition of sanctions, which are necessary to protect our national security.

Iran brought the case to the United Nations’ highest court last month to challenge the US decision to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to reimpose the sanctions that were suspended as part of that deal, Xinhua reported.

Earlier on Monday, the opening day of court hearings in The Hague, the Netherlands, Iran requested that judges at the ICJ order the immediate lifting of US sanctions.

The sanctions are unjust and harmful, said Mohsen Mohebi, head of the international legal affairs center of the Iranian President’s office. The sanctions are damaging the economy of Iran, and driving millions of people into poverty.

Pompeo said: The proceedings instituted by Iran are a misuse of the Court, adding that Washington will vigorously defend against Iran’s meritless claims this week in The Hague, and to continue to work with allies to counter Iran’s regional influence and ballistic missile program.

Moreover, Iran asked the judges to note that the US breached its obligations to Iran, and order it to terminate the sanctions without delay and stop any threats about further sanctions.

Tehran also asked judges to make the US promise that it will not violate its obligations again, and will fully compensate Iran for the violation of its international legal obligations.

The lawsuit followed the decision by US President Donald Trump in May to quit the JCPOA. The US also announced the full reinstatement of US nuclear sanctions on Iran.

Iran accused the the US side of violating a 1955 friendship treaty between the two countries, the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights, and requested the Court to indicate provisional measures.

Iran gave its oral arguments on Monday. On Tuesday, the US will have the opportunity to issue their reaction.

The second round of oral arguments are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week. The announcement of the order on the provisional measures by the judges could take months.

The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its role is to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and specialized agencies, in accordance with international law. The seat of the court is in The Hague.

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