U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration urged judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday to dismiss a claim by Tehran to recover $1.75 billion in frozen assets awarded to American victims of Iran-linked terrorism by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“The actions at the root of this case center on Iran’s support for international terrorism,” Richard Visek, legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State (DOS), declared on Monday, calling on the international court to reject Iran’s claim.
In denouncing Tehran’s suit in a statement issued Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused state-sponsor of terror Iran of using the international court for political and propaganda purposes.
“We owe it to our fallen heroes, their families, and the victims of Iran’s terrorist activities to vigorously defend against the Iranian regime’s meritless claims this week in The Hague, where we will show that Iran’s case should be dismissed,” the secretary proclaimed.
In 2016, U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for American families of the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, among other Iran-backed terrorist attacks, to collect the nearly $2 billion in frozen assets.
Referring to Iran’s suit to recover the funds, Reuters explains:
The hearings at the [international court] tribunal were separate from Iran’s claim relating to current U.S. sanctions against Teheran. Iran’s claim in both cases is based on a 1955 Amity Treaty, which was signed 24 years before Iran’s Islamic Revolution, which turned the two countries into arch enemies.
Last week, the Trump administration announced it would pull out from the Amity Treaty after the international court ordered the United States to ensure that sanctions imposed on the Shiite Islamic Republic do not impact humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.
Pompeo noted in his statement on Monday:
We will continue to fight against the scourge of Iran’s terrorist activities in all venues and will continue to increase the pressure on this outlaw state. These malign activities by Iran are among the reasons we decided last week to terminate the 1955 U.S.-Iran Treaty of Amity. We hope that Iran’s leaders will come to recognize that the only way to ensure a positive future for their country is by ceasing their campaign of terror and destruction around the world.
It will reportedly take a year for the United States withdrawal from the treaty to take effect. Iran’s suit to recover the frozen assets, filed in 2016, is expected to continue regardless.
The hearings by the United Nations highest court are scheduled to run until Friday and focus on the Trump administration’s request that it dismiss Iran’s suit.
It remains unclear precisely when the international court will deliver a ruling on the matter.