On the second day of the UN top court session on Iran’s complaint against the United States over the seizure of $1.7 billion of Iran's assets, Iran's lawyers said Washington is accusing Tehran of supporting terrorism in order to escape accountability for charges against it.
The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) heard Iran’s arguments against the US in a new showdown between the two sides over the freezing by Washington of billions of dollars of Iranian assets either inside or outside of America under domestic court rulings.
It came just days after the tribunal handed Tehran a victory in a separate case.
At the beginning of the hearing at the ICJ, the head of the Iranian delegation, Mohsen Mohebi said that the Treaty of Amity, signed between Tehran and Washington in 1955 will consist of all bilateral economic relations, and that US behavior towards corporations and Iranian entities, including the Central Bank, is grossly in violation of this treaty.
He said the US reported withdrawal from the treaty will not have any effect on the current case.
“The history of US-Iran relations has not and must not become (a reason) that the Amity Treaty cannot settle the two sides’ disputes,” he said, adding that Washington in the past, after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has taken action against Iran in the court based on the treaty, hence recognizing its jurisdiction.
Iran’s lawyers then presented the court with figures and statistics showing the two sides’ recent import-export level which, in contrast with US court’s arguments, proves Washington and Tehran have had trade relations after the Islamic Revolution.
The US lawyers maintain that since the country has had no official relations, especially in terms of economy, with Tehran after the Islamic Revolution, the treaty cannot be a base for legal action against Washington.
Iran’s lawyers also rejected the US terrorism accusations against Iran, saying that such claims have no legal base whatsoever and have only been made by the US unilaterally.
The court held the first hearing in the case on Monday, when American lawyers brought their arguments before the body, repeating Washington’s allegations against Iran of involvement in ‘terrorism’ or ‘financing’ it.
Iran had lodged the case with the court two years ago by invoking the Treaty of Amity, signed between Tehran and Washington in 1955.
The US has also argued that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction over the case. Washington quit the treaty last week after it was defeated in the previous case over US sanctions on Iran, which was also based on the same deal.
In a definitive victory for Tehran, the International Court of Justice ordered Washington to halt unilateral sanctions that endanger the flow of ‘humanitarian’ supplies into Iran.
The case saw Iran litigating against the US over its re-imposition of anti-Iran sanctions.
The White House began reintroducing the bans in August after quitting a multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran.
In the verdict, the ICJ ordered that the United States lift the sanctions targeting ‘humanitarian’ items.
The ICJ – also known after the World Court -- was set up after World War II to rule on disputes between United Nations member states. Its rulings are binding.
Italian court rejects US appeal
In another development, the Rome Appeal Court rejected US appeal to seize Iran’s central bank’s property valued at $5 billion, said Mohebi, according to the president’s official website.
"Following the efforts of Iranian Central Bank and its lawyers in Italy, the order to seize the property of Iran’s Central Bank in Italy was canceled,” Mohebi said.
"The Rome Court, based on Italian regulation, in June 2018 had been issued a garnishee order and temporarily seized all Central Bank property." he said.