Legal battle between United States and Iran opens at UN’s highest court

US slams EU’s $20mn development aid to Iran as sending ‘wrong message at the wrong time

The lawsuit filed with the ICJ, also known as the World Court, says the USA sanctions, which are damaging its already weak economy, violate terms of a little-known 1955 friendship treaty between the two countries.

Speaking on August 27 at the start of four days of hearings, a lawyer representing Iran, Mohsen Mohebi, told the court in The Hague that the USA sanctions violate terms of the 1955 treaty signed by the United States and Iran.

Iran said the usa sanctions, which are damaging its already-weak economy, violate terms of a little-known 1955 friendship treaty between the two countries.

Iran demanded Monday that the UN's top court order the United States to suspend nuclear-linked sanctions against Tehran, but Washington vowed to "vigorously" fend off the legal challenge.

Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, brokered when Barack Obama was still in the White House, imposed restrictions on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program in return for the lifting of most USA and worldwide sanctions against Tehran.

Iran's lawyers said the USA sanctions had disrupted tens of billions of dollars' worth of business deals with foreign companies. But Mr Trump reimposed unilateral sanctions three weeks ago.

They are expected to argue that the ICJ should not have jurisdiction in the dispute. "We will also ensure Iran has no path to a nuclear weapon - not now, not ever". A final decision in the case may take years. "The United States has claimed that the very objective of these measures is to cause maximum damage to Iran".

However, the deal came with time limits and did not address Iran's ballistic missile program or its regional policies in Syria and elsewhere.

Trump's decision to withdraw from the accord has hurt the United States, Zarif said, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).

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Russian Federation has previously called it "absolutely unrealistic" to expect a complete Iranian withdrawal from the country. Iran also has proxies in the region including Lebanon's Hezbollah .

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Pompeo said lawyers would "vigorously defend" the USA and "and we will continue to work with our allies to counter the Iranian regime's destabilizing activities in the region, block their financing of terror, and address Iran's proliferation of ballistic missiles and other advanced weapons systems that threaten global peace and stability".

The sanctions have hit Iran hard, with the country's currency losing much of its value, leading to protests on the streets of many Iranian cities.

Global companies including French oil firm Total and Germany's Siemens have suspended operations in Iran since Trump announced the United States withdrawal in May.

European leaders, including Britain's Theresa May and France's Emmanuel Macron, have been fighting to keep the deal alive, but are struggling to save it from collapse in light of the fresh sanctions.

Air France will halt flights from Paris to Tehran from September 18 because of "the line's weak performance", a spokesman for the airline said.

The Islamic Republic says U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to reimpose sanctions over its nuclear program aims to bring it "to its knees" and are in breach of a 1955 treaty.

However, diplomatic relations were severed following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran and takeover of the U.S. Embassy and ensuing hostage crisis.

The United States will formally respond in oral arguments on Tuesday.

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