19 February 2018
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  • » 06/17/2016, 18.29


    Tehran sues the United States in UN court over confiscated assets

    The dispute involves Iranian assets frozen by the US, which the US Supreme Court said can be used to compensate US citizens harmed by Iranian-sponsored terrorism in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Tehran rejects the claim, saying that the confiscation violates a 1955 US-Iranian friendship treaty.

    Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iran has filed a lawsuit against the United States at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest UN judicial body, over seized Iranian assets.

    The US Supreme Court ruled that US$ 2 billion in frozen Iranian assets must be paid to American victims of terror attacks blamed on Tehran.

    Iran argues that Iran and Iranian state-owned companies are entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of the US courts.” Hence, the US action constitutes a violation “by the Government of the United States of America of the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between Iran and the United States of America which was signed in Tehran on 15 August 1955 and entered into force on 16 June 1957”.

    The US Supreme Court blocked frozen Iranian assets in April to be paid out to survivors and relatives of those killed in attacks blamed on the Islamic republic. These included the 1983 bombing of a US Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia. The decision affects more than 1,000 Americans.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced late Wednesday that "Iran has officially lodged a complaint with the international court and we will pursue our case until we get a result."

    "The American courts have illegally decided that these funds must be given to Americans and the families of victims killed in Lebanon," he said, quoted by Iranian media.

    "It remains unclear what these Americans were doing in Lebanon, and how this affair concerns Iran."

    After years of embargo, Iran obtained a partial easing of Western economic sanctions in exchange for an agreement on its controversial atomic programme. Iranian authorities say it is for civilian purposes, but others, like Israel, believe it designed to build a nuclear bomb.

    Despite the agreement, the United States has kept in place a range of sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile programme, as well as over its military support for Shia groups in the Middle East, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria’s Alawi-controlled government and Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

    European banks with US branches have been slow to pick up business opportunities in Iran, fearful of US law.

    Washington has banned the use of the US dollar with Iran, preventing new deals. This has helped Iran’s right-wing faction, and undermined moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s reform programme.

    In Tuesday's filing, Iran rejects the US designation as a major state sponsor of terrorism. For Rouhani, “Iran and Iranian state-owned companies are entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of the US courts.”  What is more, Tehran wants back the money the Americans “stole”.

    The UN court, which recently marked its 70th anniversary, will now have to decide whether it has jurisdiction in the case.

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    See also

    13/06/2007 THAILAND
    Thaksin can return but his life is in danger, says government
    The leader of the ruling military junta claims the authorities cannot protect him if he returns. The assets of the former PM’s and his wife worth more than US$ 1.6 billion are frozen. He calls the decision a political attack and vows to take legal action, if necessary at the international level.

    17/09/2009 RUSSIA
    Court in Rostov bans Jehovah’s Witnesses for being religious extremists
    The court disbands the organisation, seizes its assets and bands all of its activities in the cities of Taganrog, Neklinov and Matveevo-Kurgan. The religious movement accuses the judges of violating religious freedom, and is set to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

    04/04/2017 15:35:00 IRAQ
    Organised crime seizing Christian assets in Baghdad, says Iraqi lawmaker

    Yonadam Kanna warns that criminals are forging papers to get the courts to allow them to seize assets. The problem goes beyond houses, and touches land and businesses. The Christian lawmaker wants to government and the courts to end the problem and “restore legality”.

    19/04/2013 CHINA
    Eight people arrested for demanding party officials reveal their wealth
    Lawyers and activists take to the streets with banners and launch online petitions asking that all the members of the Central Committee release a list of their wealth, something that Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping had already requested. Police detain activists for "disrupting the public order." But the problem of corruption in the Party remains.

    16/07/2015 VATICAN
    Vatican budget still in the red with a € 25.6 million deficit for 2014
    The Governorate of the Vatican City State, which is responsible for museums, the Vatican post office, commercial enterprises, etc., had instead a good year with a surplus of € 63.5 million. Net assets rose by € 939 million as a result of adjustments to count all the assets and liabilities for the 2014 fiscal year.

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