The International Court of Justice ordered this Thursday in an Iran-US case that Washington must pay compensation for the seizure of Iranian assets, a decision that Iran described as proof of legitimacy against the US.
On this Thursday, the International Court of Justice, known as the ICJ, ruled that the seizure of Iranian assets by the United States was wrong according to international law and ordered Washington to pay compensation to Tehran.
According to the text of the verdict, the Court “finds that the United States of America has violated its obligation under Article III, paragraph 1, of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between the two countries, namely that the property of nationals and companies of the Contracting Parties shall not be taken except for a public purpose, nor shall it be taken without the prompt payment of just compensation.”
The Court also noted that “the United States of America is under obligation to compensate the Islamic Republic of Iran for the injurious consequences of the violations of international obligations.”
Although the ICJ announced that the two countries should reach an agreement on the amount of the compensation, it noted that the amount of which will be determined later by the Court itself if the two fail to agree on how much the US must pay to Iran.
The Hague-based ICJ further ruled out the US claim that it has the right to use Iran’s frozen money in American banks to pay compensation for the victims of the 1983 bombings in two buildings in Biuret, Lebanon, housing US and French military personnel, which the US claimed Iran was responsible for. In the bombings back then, 307 people, including 241 US military personnel were killed.
The ICJ said Washington’s freezing of funds belonging to several Iranian individuals and companies cannot be used as compensation for the 1983 bombings. However, the Court noted that it did not have jurisdiction over $1.75bn in frozen assets from Iran’s central bank held in a Citibank account in New York.
A victory for Iran against the US in a legal battle
Reacting to the ICH ruling on Thursday, the Iranian foreign ministry issued a statement the same day and praised the decision as it highlighted the legitimacy of Iran’s positions against the United States and the wrongfulness of Washington’s behavior towards the Islamic Republic.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the decision issued by the International Court of Justice shows the solidity of the arguments and rightness of Iran’s demand,” the foreign ministry statement said, adding that “obliging the United States to compensate for the losses [Iran has suffered] is the most important testimony to the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s demand”.
Calling the ICJ decision “important”, the statement further noted that “the ICJ has rightly rejected all wrong defenses the US presented and stressed that it violated its obligations while it has recognized Iran as the rightful side”.
Although Washington withdrew from the 1955 friendship treaty with Iran in 2018, the ICJ believes that it was still in place at the time of the freezing of the assets of Iranian commercial companies and entities and that therefore Washington violated the treaty and must pay compensation to Iran.