International Court Rules U.S. Authorities Took Some Iranian Funds Illegally; State Dept Rebukes Findings

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 03/31/2023
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined that some Iranian funds were illegally taken by American authorities, and the US State Department has contested this finding.

A 2016 ruling by the US Supreme Court was found to have violated the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between the two countries, according to judges at the UN's highest court in The Hague on Thursday. At the time, a US court decided that victims of terrorist strikes that Washington had attributed to Tehran should get payments from certain assets owned by Iranian corporations.


The ICJ stated that Iran "is entitled to compensate for the injury inflicted," adding that the US has 24 months to come to an agreement on a settlement amount or else the court will choose one.

The judges, however, denied Tehran's request that $1.75 billion in assets controlled by Iran's Central Bank (Bank Markazi) be unblocked in the US, claiming that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction in the case.

According to US State Department spokeswoman Vedant Patel, "We are unhappy that the Court has ruled that the transfer of assets of additional Iranian organizations and instrumentalities to American victims of Iran's funding of terrorism was inconsistent with the Treaty."

He emphasized that the 1955 deal "was never meant to insulate Iran from having to recompense American victims of its funding of terrorism." It was signed more than two decades before the Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed government in Iran. In 2018, the US withdrew from the agreement.

On the same day, Patel claimed in a press conference that the ICJ's decision to maintain the frozen status of Bank Markazi funds was "a major blow to Iran's attempt to avoid its responsibility, in particular to the families of US peacekeepers who were killed in the 1983 bombing of the Marine Corps barrack in Beirut."

Iran denies any involvement in the 299 fatal terrorist attacks US has linked to it, including the one in the capital of Lebanon that killed 241 US service members.

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