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International Court Orders U.S. to Ease Some Iran Sanctions

Iran has argued that the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States contravenes a friendship treaty between Tehran and Washington dating from 1955, long before the 1979 revolution that led to a freeze in the countries’ relationship.

But the United States has argued that the international court had no jurisdiction in the affair. In fact, the United States ambassador to the Netherlands, Peter Hoekstra, echoed that theme on Wednesday, writing on Twitter after the decision, “This is a meritless case over which the court has no jurisdiction.”

The court said on Wednesday that Washington should ensure that its sanctions do not restrict Iran’s export of medicine and medical devices, food, and agricultural commodities, along with spare parts and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation.

Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf, heading a 15-member panel, said the international court had decided that the United States must “remove by means of its choosing any impediment arising” from the sanctions imposed in May.

Reading the court’s judgment, the judge said Washington should not curb “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.”

In theory, the court ruled, American sanctions do not include food and medical supplies, but “it has become difficult if not impossible for Iran, Iranian nationals and companies to engage in international financial transactions” relating to such purchases.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, praised Europe on Wednesday for taking a “big step” to maintain business despite the American withdrawal from the pact, which promised an easing of sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.

The Tasnim news agency quoted Mr. Rouhani as saying that Mr. Trump’s increasing pressures on Tehran were intended to secure “domestic political gains.”

Source: NYT > World

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