Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that the U.S. is withdrawing from the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran, a document that he said should have been terminated “decades ago.”
“The Iranians have been ignoring it for an awfully long time,” Pompeo told reporters. The treaty, which covered economic relations and consular rights, formed the basis for a Wednesday ruling from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that ordered the U.S. to ease some sanctions on Iran related to humanitarian goods. The U.S. has been reimposing a range of economic penalties on Iran since leaving the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran brought its case before the ICJ in The Hague, Netherlands, in July.
“Given Iran’s history of terrorism, ballistic missile activity, and other malign behaviors, Iran’s claims under the treaty are absurd,” Pompeo said. “Iran is abusing the ICJ for political and propaganda purposes, and their case, as you can see from the decision, lacked merit.”
He described the ICJ ruling as a “defeat for Iran” because the court “rightly rejected all of Iran’s baseless requests” including an effort to “secure broad measures to interfere with U.S. sanctions.”
U.S. officials have objected to the court’s order, saying the court lacks jurisdiction. The administration is likely to ignore the ruling. “This is a meritless case over which the court has no jurisdiction,” said U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands Pete Hoekstra. Hoekstra, like Pompeo, also noted that the court “declined ... to grant the sweeping measures requested by Iran” and instead “issued a narrow decision on a very limited range of sectors.” These sectors include medicine, food, and civil aviation, per the ruling.
Pompeo said Wednesday that the U.S. has already made clear that there will be humanitarian exceptions to the sanctions. “Existing exceptions, authorizations, and licensing policies for humanitarian-related transactions and safety of flight will remain in effect,” he said. “The United States has been actively engaged on these issues without regard to any proceeding before the ICJ.”
But the secretary also noted that the the Iranian regime is using its own money for global adventurism such as funding proxy groups and working on ballistic missiles. “They could be providing humanitarian assistance to their own people, but have chosen instead a different path,” he said.
Arkansas senator Tom Cotton applauded the administration's decision to terminate the "outdated agreement."
"Iran’s case is baseless," he said. “If Tehran wants access to additional parts and equipment for civil aviation, it should use its domestic fleet for carrying civilian passengers instead of munitions and troops to support its allies in Syria."