Victory for Iran as United Nations court tells Donald Trump to lift sanctions

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Decisions by the Hague-based ICJ, which rules on disputes between United Nations members, are binding but it has no mechanism through which it can enforce its decisions.

It is the main judicial organ of the United Nations and settles legal disputes between member states. The administration is likely to ignore the ruling.

Pompeo said his country had already taken measures to avoid harming Iran's humanitarian needs and that the ruling "categorically rejected all unfounded demands by Iran" to lift United States sanctions in a comprehensive way.

The country's top diplomat said the USA would continue to provide humanitarian assistance but called on Iranian officials to do more to protect their citizens instead of spreading terror around the globe.

However, the U.S. ambassador in the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, pointed out in a tweet that the "court grant the sweeping measures requested by Iran" - after dismissing the entire case as "meritless".

The United States has been ordered to lift some sanctions against Iran, in a symbolic victory for Tehran.

Foreign drugs are now a rare commodity in Iran which is also dealing with a free-falling rial currency and price hikes.

A curb on "economic warfare"?

It covers medicines, medical supplies and equipment, food, agricultural products and aviation safety equipment.

At the same time, he criticized the ruling.

What were the arguments in court?

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that the U.S. is withdrawing from a 1955 "Treaty of Amity" with Iran after Tehran successfully made an global complaint that Washington had violated that accord.

The sanctions were imposed by United States president Donald Trump, after he pulled out of Tehran's nuclear deal.

"Given Iran´s history of terrorism, ballistic missile activity and other malign behaviours, Iran´s claims under the treaty are absurd", he said.

It said USA sanctions must not hurt medicines and medical devices; foodstuffs and agricultural commodities; or parts, equipment and services necessary for civil aviation safety.

The treaty, which was signed in Tehran, established consular and economic relations between the US and Iran.

Why did the USA abandon the nuclear deal?

It is too early to assess what the ruling's impact will be, given the EU's backing for the nuclear accord, but the ruling puts on the record that the reimposition of sanctions is viewed as illegal by the global community.

US President Donald J. Trump signs an executive order on Iran Sanctions at Trump National Golf Club, August 6, 2018, in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.

"Our European partners ... have chosen to remain in the Iran nuclear deal", Bolton said. A more punishing round of sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors is scheduled to take effect November 4, and the United States is warning allies they could face secondary sanctions if they continue to do business with Iran.

Ahead of the economic penalties, the six parties remaining in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran - announced the creation of a "Special Purpose Vehicle", which is meant to facilitate financial transactions with Iran allowed under the nuclear pact.