Since Barack Obama and John Kerry struck a deal with Iran, hoping to cement some sort of foreign policy legacy, the question of if, or when, assets and cash frozen in the United States should be returned to the nation has been an ongoing one. The Iranians have made multiple attempts to recover $1.75 billion in frozen assets, and now they’re even asking the international community for assistance.
On Monday, in front of the International Court of Justice, the United States asked the court to throw out a claim made by Iran to recover the money in national bank assets that had been seized. However, the U.S.A. has stated that they have different plans for that money, and for where it should go.
The way that the United States responded to the Iranian demand for the $1.75 billion in frozen assets after the court ruling should surprise no one. In his typical fashion, President Donald Trump said that he’d pull out of the Amity Treaty instead.
In 2016, the United States Supreme Court decided that assets seized from those banks had to be turned over to Americans.
Namely, to American families related to victims of the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, among other families that had been harmed by Iranian-backed actions.
The hearings concerning this $1.75 billion are a completely separate legal matter from other actions in the court, such as the ones concerning America’s recently restored sanctions on the Islamic ‘republic.’
Iran’s claim to the money is based, much like its legal claim to block the sanctions, in the 1955 Amity Treaty, signed by agents of the Iranian nation and the United States more than two decades before the Islamic revolution altered the political and religious landscape of the nation.
It’s easy to see the difference by looking at images from Iran in the early 1960s and 1970s, and looking at images today.
According to Richard Visek, the legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State, the actions at the root cause of the asset seizure (and forfeiture) center around Iran’s continuous support for terrorism around the world.
SecState Pompeo also said that the United States owed it to our “fallen heroes, their families, and the victims” of Iran’s terrorist activities and its history of funding such terrorist activities, to “vigorously defend” against the Islamic nation’s “meritless” claims in front of the Hague.
Last week, Washington D.C. announced that it would withdraw from the Amity Treaty, after the ‘world court’ declared that it was part of the ruling that ordered the U.S. to ensure that their sanctions against Iran did not impact humanitarian aid or civil aviation industries.
However, it would take a year for that withdrawal to take impact, legally speaking, and the case filed by the nation which has been continuously accused of funding terrorism and fomenting Islamic extremism against the United States would continue during that time, regardless of the withdrawal (or lack thereof).
As of yet, no date for a ruling in this particular case has been set forth, although the hearing on the $1.75 billion is scheduled to run through Friday.
One of the major problems with the ‘world court’ at the Hague is that it seems to, so often, be more than happy to side against the United States in its rulings.
Indeed, many have complained that the ICJ, like the United Nations that it is somewhat attached to, and which refers most of its cases to them, has an anti-American and anti-Israel slant to its decisions.
Another issue with the court, much like with the U.N., is that it has no mechanism, and no force, by which to enforce its rulings.
In other words, they can make whatever ruling they would like concerning whatever topic they desire, including the transfer of $1.75 billion in frozen assets, but there’s not much that they can do to ensure cooperation.
President Donald Trump has told both the United Nations and the international court that he would ignore certain actions by the ‘global community,’ possibly including the rulings on both the ‘sanctions’ case and the ‘frozen assets’ issue.
Still, no date has been set yet for a possible ruling.
It is not likely that the United States would be happy to turn over the money to the Iranian government. After all, that money has been promised to those who lost people to the violence spread by the Islamic republic and its leadership in Tehran.
All that remains to be seen is what the final outcome will be. Given the history of the ICJ, it’s likely that they’ll order the money be turned over.
Thankfully, President Trump isn’t likely to comply with such a ruling.