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US Defends as Legal Re-Imposition of Sanctions against Iran

US Defends as Legal Re-Imposition of Sanctions against Iran

Tuesday, 28 August, 2018 - 19:45
Jennifer Newstead, lawyer of the UN during the opening of case between Iran and the US at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The United States defended as legal and justified on Tuesday its slapping of sanctions on Iran, a day after Tehran launched a suit with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over US President Donald Trump's decision to re-impose the penalties that were lifted in the 2015 nuclear accord.

US State Department legal advisor Jennifer Newstead urged judges at the ICJ to reject Iran’s urgent request to suspend the sanctions.

"The United States does intend, lawfully and for good reason, to bring heavy pressure to bear on the Iranian leadership to change their ways," Newstead told judges in the court's wood-paneled Great Hall of Justice.

"We do this in the interests of US national security as well as in pursuit of a more peaceful Middle East and a more peaceful world."

On Monday, Iranian representative Mohsen Mohebi called Trump's sanctions policy "nothing but a naked economic aggression against my country."

The US decision to pull out was motivated by "an acute, long-standing and growing concern about the national security threat posed by Iran," Newstead said.

"The sanctions that the United States has re-introduced are lawful and appropriate in the face of Iran's activities, past, continuing and threatened."

“This case is entirely about an attempt to compel the US by order of this court to resume” the 2015 nuclear deal, Newstead said.

She stressed that the sanctions exclude humanitarian activities in Iran.

A provisional ruling is expected within a month, though no date has been set.

The 2015 deal came with time limits and did not address Iran's ballistic missile program or its regional policies in Syria and elsewhere. Trump called the accord the "worst deal ever" and backed out of it in May.

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