The Hague: The World Court on Wednesday ordered the United States to ensure that sanctions against Iran do not hamper humanitarian aid and products and services linked to the civil aviation safety, according to a Reuters report.
“The decision proved once again that the Islamic Republic is right and the U.S. sanctions against people and citizens of our country are illegal and cruel,” said Iran’s foreign ministry, wlecoming the order.
The ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) comes as a shot in the arm for Tehran which had demanded for the suspension of sanctions, reimposed after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal.
However, the ICJ order is expected to have a limited impact on the implementation of sanctions.
Also, it will be interesting to see whether the US complies by the World Court’s ruling. While the international court’s rulings are binding, it has no power to enforce them, and both the US and Iran have effectively ignored its decisions in the past.
Iran had argued that sanctions imposed since May by the Trump administration violate the terms of a 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries.
The court found that assurances offered by Washington in August that it would do its best to ensure sanctions would not affect humanitarian conditions were “not adequate to address fully the humanitarian and safety concerns raised” by Iran.
“The court considers that the United States must, in line with its obligations under the 1955 treaty, remove by means of its choosing any impediment arising from the measures announced on 8 May 2018,” Presiding Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, reading a summary of a ruling by the 15-member panel of justices, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
The sanctions may not hurt “exportation to the territory of Iran of goods required for humanitarian needs such as medicines, medical devices and foodstuffs and agricultural commodities as well as goods and services required for the safety of civil aviation,” he said.
The US pulled out of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May and will reimpose sanctions on the country’s oil sector in November. The Trump administration says it wants to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero – which would deprive the Iranian government of its biggest source of hard currency.
The US has told India and other countries to cut oil imports from Iran to “zero” by November 4 or face sanctions, making it clear that there would be no waivers to anyone.