UN court rules it has jurisdiction to hear Iran claim against US over assets
Dismissing US objections, judges at the International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that the UN body has jurisdiction to hear a claim by Iran to recover $1.75 billion (£1.36 billion) in assets frozen by Washington.
The court's 15-judge panel unanimously finds that it has jurisdiction to rule on the application filed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, Presiding Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf said in a reading of the decision, Reuters reported.
The ruling may also have implications for a second case at the court in which Iran is contesting US sanctions against Tehran.
Iran filed a complaint with the ICJ — the principal judicial organ of the United Nations — on June 14, 2016 over the freezing of billions of dollars in its assets either inside or outside of America under US court rulings.
The Iranian complaint invoked the 'Treaty of Amity', signed between Iran and America in 1955.
According to the complaint, Iranian assets had, under the treaty, been held in a custodial 'omnibus account' with Citibank N. A. in New York by the Luxembourg-based international central securities depository Clearstream Banking S.A. to the ultimate benefit of Bank Markazi or Iran's Central Bank.
Court hearings started with 'Preliminary Objections' by the US, which seeks to argue that the ICJ does not have the jurisdiction to take up the case.
These hearings came after the US was handed a defeat at the ICJ in a separate case filed by Iran over the re-imposition of US sanctions that had also invoked the 'Treaty of Amity'.
On October 3, the International Court of Justice ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to the safety of civil aviation.
The International Court of Justice is the main judicial body of the United Nations that settles the disputes between member states according to the international law and gives advisory information on queries referred to it from UN and specialized agencies. 101/ 211 /202