UN court to rule on Iran’s $2bn worth of frozen assets in US
Story Code : 777937
The ruling by the International Court of Justice relates to a complaint filed by Iran in June 2016 “for the confiscation and theft of two billion dollars of the property of the central bank,” President Hassan Rouhani said at the time.
Iran lodged the complaint after the US Supreme Court ruled that the assets must be turned over to alleged American families of those killed in the 1983 bombing of a US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks which Washington blames on Tehran without evidence.
The US decision, according to Iran, breaches the Treaty of Amity between Tehran and Washington signed before the 1979 Islamic Revolution when the two countries were close allies.
Last October, the United States said it was pulling out of the treaty after the International Court of Justice ordered the US to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran.
The assets, secretly seized by the US, were part of the Iranian Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves held in Citibank accounts in New York.
The US District Court for the Southern District of New York, acting on information provided by the Treasury Department, ordered Citibank to freeze the money in June 2008.
The US Supreme Court then ruled in April 2016 that the assets should be paid to about 1,000 alleged survivors and relatives of those killed in attacks.
The ruling came just a year after an international nuclear deal signed with Iran paved the way for the unblocking of the country's frozen funds.
Those funds, however, have been subject to a witch hunt by the Americans who have used US animosity toward the Islamic Republic to easily win lawsuits against Tehran in American courts.
Iran has denounced US seizures of its frozen assets as “highway robbery.” Meanwhile, Rouhani has demanded “the condemnation of Washington’s anti-Iranian action and compensation for damages.”
President Donald Trump has taken a more hawkish line with Tehran than his predecessors, walking away from the nuclear deal and imposing the toughest sanctions ever on Iranians.
On the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, celebrated on Monday, Trump tweeted that “the long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future.”
The message drew a wave of condemnation from many Iranians who see Trump behind their country’s current economic problems.
One journalist, whose photo of a protest against economic conditions in Tehran was used in Trump’s tweet, said she “felt cheated and abused.”
“It causes me great sorrow to see the man who is inflicting so much pain upon me and my compatriots to use my image for his own agenda,” Yalda Moayeri told the New York Times in Tehran.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had already used the image ahead of a meeting in July with opponents of the Islamic Republic in the United States.
But Moayeri lost her temper when President Trump posted the image on Monday, she told the Times.
“It’s not as if I can sue the president of the United States as an Iranian, so I guess this is all I can do,” she wrote on her Instagram page.