US terminates decades-old agreement with Iran over sanctions case

On Wednesday, Pompeo announced America’s termination of a 1955 amity treaty with Iran based on an International Court of Justice ruling attempting to force the US to lift sanctions.

By: JNS.org

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that the United States will terminate a 1955 treaty of amity that regulates commerce and consular activities between America and Iran.

This development comes in response to the International Court of Justice ruling on Wednesday that the United States must lift humanitarian-related sanctions against the regime.

Pompeo labeled the ruling as “meritless.”

“This is a decision frankly that is 39 years overdue,” he told reporters.

“Iran has attempted to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions as necessary to protect our national security, and Iran is abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda purposes,” he added.

Nonetheless, Pompeo remarked that the United States will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Iranian people, which he said is being abused by the Islamic Republic.

“Those are dollars the Iranian leadership is squandering,” he said. “They could be providing humanitarian assistance to their own people, but have chosen a different path.”

The little-known treaty with Iran was among numerous such ones signed in the wake of World War II as the Truman and Eisenhower administrations tried to assemble a coalition of nations to counter the Soviet Union. Like many of the treaties, this one was aimed at encouraging closer economic relations and regulating diplomatic and consular ties.

Its first article reads: “There shall be firm and enduring peace and sincere friendship between the United States of America and Iran.”

The treaty survived the 1979 overthrow of the Shah in Iran’s Islamic revolution and the subsequent hostage crisis that crippled American-Iranian relations for decades.

But amid a broader push to assert U.S. sovereignty in the international arena and after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal this year, the administration determined that the court case made the treaty irrelevant.

Pompeo said the ruling was a “useful point for us to demonstrate the absolute absurdity” of the treaty.

The court case is legally binding, but Pompeo said the administration would proceed with sanctions enforcement with existing exceptions for humanitarian and flight safety transactions.

“The United States has been actively engaged on these issues without regard to any proceeding before the ICJ,” he said.

At the same time, he criticized the ruling.

“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.”

The ruling said Washington must “remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from” the re-imposition of sanctions to the export to Iran of medicine and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities and spare parts and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation.

It said the exceptions mentioned by Pompeo “are not adequate to address fully the humanitarian and safety concerns” raised by Iran.

The first set of sanctions that had been eased under the terms of the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration was reimposed in August. A second, more sweeping set of sanctions, is set to be reimposed in early November.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, praised the court ruling, saying on Twitter that it was “another failure for sanctions-addicted” U.S. and a “victory for rule of law.” He said it was imperative for other countries ‘to collectively counter malign US unilateralism” and he accused the U.S. of being an “outlaw regime.”

The court said the case will continue and the U.S. can still challenge its jurisdiction but no date has been set for further hearings.