ACTION ALERT: US Defies World Court Amid Threats to Attack Iran
October 4, 2018
Women's Action for New Directions & Politico & The New York Times & The Hill & NPR
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US is terminating the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran -- further proof that the Trump Administration is setting the stage for another endless war in the Middle East. We need Congress to tell Trump that the American people are not going to stand for war with Iran. Sen. Tom Udall -- joined by several senators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Bernie Sanders -- has introduced new legislation that limits funding for active military operations in or against Iran.
ACTION ALERT: US Defies
World Court Amid Threats to Attack Iran
Nancy Parrish / Women's Action for New Directions
(October 3, 2018) -- This morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States is terminating the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran. This is further proof that the Trump Administration is setting the stage for the United States to enter into another endless war in the Middle East.
We need Congress to tell the Trump Administration that the American people are not going to stand for war with Iran.
Sen. Tom Udall (NM) was joined by several senators, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT), in introducing new legislation that limits funding for active military operations in or against Iran.
The US Constitution gives Congress the sole and exclusive authority to declare war. We must send a clear message today, that the American people do not support war with Iran. Join us by telling your Senators to co-sponsor S.3517, which will stymie the US from following the same, unjustified path to war that we followed into war with Iraq.
Will you take action to prevent a war against Iran?
ACTION: Tell your senators to cosponsor this legislation, S. 3517, today. It takes just a few clicks to stop a war with Iran.
Found Guilty by World Court, Trump Breaks
More Treaties, Declares the US is Beyond the Law
The International Court of Justice ruled that sanctions against Iran by the US violated the friendship treaty that was signed by both countries in 1955.
The United Nations' highest court ordered the US to ease sanctions on Iran and to not tamper with humanitarian aid efforts by using sanctions, which are due to increase significantly next month. (Politico)
In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would cancel the treaty (New York Times)
US Terminates 1950s Treaty with Iran After
Court Orders Washington to Ease Sanctions
Rebecca Kheel / The Hill
(October 3, 2018) -- The United States is officially terminating a 1955 treaty with Iran after an international court issued a ruling based on the treaty this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday.
"I'm announcing that the United States is terminating the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran," Pompeo said at a press briefing. "This is a decision frankly that is 39 years overdue."
It is unclear what practical effect terminating the treaty will have, given that the United States already lacks diplomatic relations with Iran. But coupled with harsher rhetoric on allegations of Iranian threats to the United States in Iraq, Wednesday's announcement follows the pattern of the Trump administration upping its pressure on Iran following President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear accord in May.
Pompeo's announcement came hours after the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nation's highest court, ordered the United States to lift some sanctions against Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products.
Iran had brought the complaint to the court, sometimes called the World Court, based on the 1955 Treaty of Amity, a pre-Iranian Revolution accord that regulates and promotes economic and consular ties between the two countries.
Tehran charged that President Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions violated the decades-old treaty.
In a preliminary ruling, the court said the United States must "remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from" sanctions that affect humanitarian goods and services and services that affect civilian aviation safety. US assurances that sanctions won't hurt humanitarian aid "were not adequate," the court said.
By limiting the order to humanitarian aid and civil aviation, the ruling did not go as far as Iran requested. Still, it is being seen as a victory for Tehran.
Pompeo said that while the United States is "disappointed the court failed to recognize it has no jurisdiction," he framed the ruling as a defeat for Iran.
"Iran is abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda purposes, and their case, as you can see from the decision, lacked merit," he said. "Given Iran's history of terrorism, ballistic missile activity and other malign activity, Iran's claims under the treaty are absurd.
"The court's ruling today is a defeat for Iran. It rightly rejected all of Iran's baseless requests. The court denied Iran's attempt to secure broad measures to interfere with US sanctions and rightly noted Iran's history of noncompliance with its international obligations under the treaty of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons."
Asked about the potential fallout of terminating the treaty, Pompeo said "we'll see what the practice fallout is."
"The Iranians have been ignoring it for an awfully long time," Pompeo said. "We ought to have pulled out of it decades ago. Today marked a useful point with the decision that was made this morning from the ICJ. This marked a useful point for us to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of the Treaty of Amity between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran."
He also said the United States "has been clear" that existing sanctions exceptions for humanitarian aid and civil aviation safety "will remain."
Asked about the court's ruling that those assurances are inadequate, Pompeo reiterated that the United States "has been very clear."
"We will continue to make sure that we are providing humanitarian assistance in a way that delivers for the people we have spoken very clearly about, the Iranian people," he said, adding that Tehran was "squandering" its money instead providing aid to its own people.
At a White House briefing later Wednesday, national security adviser John Bolton announced the United States is also withdrawing from the optional dispute resolution process to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Bolton said that decision was made in connection with a case brought by the "so-called State of Palestine" over President Trump's decision to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The United States will still participate in the underlying Vienna Convention, he added.
Bolton cast the decisions on the Vienna Convention and the Iran treaty as in line with his earlier vow not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court.
"This really has less to do with Iran and the Palestinians than with the continued, consistent policy of the United States to reject the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, which we think is politicized and ineffective," he said. "It relates obviously in part to our views on the International Criminal Court and to the nature of so-called purported international courts to be able to bind the United States."
In addition to announcing the termination of the treaty, Pompeo upped the pressure on Iran over its alleged activity in Iraq.
Last week, Pompeo ordered the closure of the US consulate in Basrah, Iraq, alleging the militias under the direction of Iran are targeting the consulate.
On Wednesday, Pompeo said US intelligence "is solid" that Iran is the origin of attacks on the mission in Basrah and the US Embassy in Baghdad, without elaborating on the intelligence.
"We can see the hand of Ayatollah and his henchmen supporting these attacks on the United States," he said. "These latest destabilizing acts in Iraq are attempts by the Iranian regime to push back on our efforts to constrain its malign behavior."
The heightened rhetoric comes as the United States prepares to reimpose the rest of the sanctions that were lifted as part of the nuclear deal. The Trump administration set a Nov. 4 deadline to reimpose those sanctions, including on oil sales, after Trump withdrew from the accord in May.
Pompeo said Iran is "clearly" worried about the US pressure campaign against Iran following the withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
"Clearly, they see our comprehensive pressure campaign as serious and succeeding," he said. "And we must be prepared for them to continue their attempts to hit back, especially after our full sanctions are reimposed on the fourth of November."
Bolton, meanwhile, stressed that US policy "is not regime change, but we do expect substantial change in their behavior."
Jordan Fabian contributed to this report.
UN Orders US to Partially Lift
Sanctions on Iran; US Responds by Ending Treaty
Bill Chappell / National Public Radio
(October 3, 2018) -- The UN's top court gave a partial victory to Iran in its dispute with the US on Wednesday, saying the US "must remove" sanctions that could stop food, medical supplies and other humanitarian products from entering Iran.
In response, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that because of continuing disputes with Iran, "I am therefore announcing today that the United States is terminating the Treaty of Amity with Iran" -- referring to the 1955 treaty that laid out economic relations between the two countries. The document was cited by the International Court of Justice.
"This is a decision, frankly, that is 39 years overdue," Pompeo said as he announced the US response, making an apparent reference to Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini.
The unanimous ruling from the court orders the US not to restrict money flowing between Iran and its trading partners for a list of products that it says should be cleared for export to Iran -- from medical devices and agricultural commodities to parts and equipment needed to safely maintain Iran's civil aviation.
Limiting food and medical products "may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran," the court said.
Hours later, Pompeo said the US had always intended to leave humanitarian exceptions to the sanctions in place. He also said the international court had no jurisdiction to intervene in the US punishment of Iran, and that Iran's claims were without merit.
Iran filed the case in July, after President Trump withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- the Iran nuclear deal that was reached in 2015. The court's ruling also referred to the 1955 treaty of amity.
The court's ruling leaves intact US sanctions that cover a range of Iranian economic activity, from exports of carpets and food to financial transactions and trade in metals.
In Iran, the threat of renewed sanctions has been taking a toll since at least the spring. "Since, let's say, March, there has been unprecedented acceleration in the prices of everything -- almost everything," Armin, a high school teacher in Tehran, told NPR's Peter Kenyon. The prices of a few items, like fuel and bread, were tightly regulated, he added. Armin asked that his last name not be used.
The ruling comes one month before the Trump administration is due to impose another round of sanctions on Iran, on Nov. 4. That's when the country's oil industry will likely be targeted.
When the first round went into effect in August, Trump said in a tweet, "These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level."
During the UN General Assembly last week, Trump doubled-down on these sentiments and repeated warnings that anyone who conducts business with Iran would be punished. He also said that after the November sanctions go into effect, the US would "pursue additional sanctions, tougher than ever before, to counter the entire range of Iran's malign conduct."
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