The judges at the court in The Hague ruled unanimously that the sanctions on some goods breached a 1955 "Treaty of Amity" between Iran and the US that predates Iran's Islamic US that predates Iran's Islamic Revolution.
"Instead, the court allowed Iran to use it as a forum for propaganda", he said. It also predated the 1988 airplane crash when a USA warship shot down an Iranian commercial aircraft killing all 290 passengers onboard.
He noted that when countries try to pull the US into the global court, it's never to address a criminal matter. A second round of punitive measures is due in November.
Also headquartered in The Hague, the ICC has the power to prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other violations of global law. Foreign drugs are now a rare commodity in Iran which is also dealing with a free-falling rial and price hikes. Official Iranian statements acknowledge the shortage and say imports of certain drugs are no longer subsidised.
He said the United Nations court, often called the "World Court", had no jurisdiction over the sanctions, which Pompeo said were essential to USA security interests, and that Washington would "terminate" the little-known treaty with Iran. "It rightly rejected all of Iran's baseless requests".
Although the court rejected the demands to have the US lift all sanctions and compensate for the losses it incurred, but it did rule the U.S.
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"In light of how Iran has hypocritically and groundlessly abused the ICJ as a forum for attacking the United States, I am therefore announcing today that the United States is terminating the Treaty of Amity with Iran", Pompeo continued. "It could become a state as the president said, but that requires diplomatic negotiations with Israel and others, so calling it the so-called state of Palestine defines exactly what it has been". "This is a decision, frankly, that is 39 years overdue", Pompeo said at a hurriedly-convened press conference. "Given Iran's history of terrorism, ballistic missile activities, and other malign behavior, Iran's claims under the treaty are absurd". The ICJ had previously been used by both the United States after the hostage crisis and by Iran after a USA warship shot down an Iranian commercial airliner in the Persian Gulf in 1988. Wednesday's ruling is in fact a decision on so-called provisional measures ahead of a final decision on the matter, which may take several more years, experts said.
The court, based in The Hague, in the Netherlands, has always been the United Nation's venue for resolving disputes between nations.
In 2005, the Bush administration took issue with the ICJ after it ruled that the execution of a Mexican national in Texas breached USA obligations under worldwide law. "The International Court of Justice should also take Tehran to task for the continued illegal detainment of United States hostages like Robert Levinson, whose family has been waiting 11 long years to gain his freedom".
Trump has repeatedly voiced disdain for global organisations that he sees as limiting United States sovereignty.
National Security Adviser John Bolton clarified for a reporter on Wednesday that Palestine is "not a state" when asked why he referred to it as a "so-called state".
The first set of sanctions that had been eased under the terms of the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration was reimposed in August. Of course, then there won't be any need to argue about sanctions because we'd have dropped them anyway.