UN court tells US to ease Iran sanctions

THE NETHERLANDS: The UN’s top court ordered the United States on Wednesday to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran, in a stinging rebuke for the Trump administration which nonetheless made clear the decision would change nothing.

Tehran hailed its “victory” after the International Court of Justice ruled that sanctions reimposed after President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal put Iranian lives at risk.

But the United States insisted it was already allowing humanitarian exemptions to sanctions and, accusing Iran of seeking a “propaganda” win, announced it was terminating a treaty on which the case was based.

The judges at the court in The Hague ruled unanimously that sanctions on some goods breached the 1955 Treaty of Amity between Iran and the United States that predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

They called on Washington to “remove by means of its choosing any impediments arising from the measures announced on 8 May to the free exportation to Iran of medicines and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities” as well as airplane parts and services, chief judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said.

The court said sanctions on goods “required for humanitarian needs... may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran.” US sanctions also had the “potential to endanger civil aviation safety in Iran.” Trump slapped a first round of sanctions on Iran in August after pulling out in May from the 2015 international deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, to the dismay of his European allies. - AFP

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