In a major setback to US President Donald Trump, the UN´s top court ordered the United States Wednesday to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague handed Iran a major victory, saying that the stinging economic sanctions put Iranian lives at risk.
Trump reimposed the sanctions in May after pulling out of Iran´s international nuclear deal to the dismay of his allies.
US President Donald Trump moved to restore tough sanctions on Iran in May after announcing he was abandoning Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
He said the deal had “failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb” and did not deal with Tehran’s “malign activities, including its ballistic missile programme and its support for terrorism”.
Iran challenged the sanctions in a case filed in July at the court.
The deal was originally signed between Iran and China, France, Russia, the UK, the US plus Germany and the European Union, which aimed to halt the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons programme in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions.
Announcing the decision on Wednesday, the ICJ’s President Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf said: “The court considers that the US must remove, by means of its choosing, any impediment (…) to the free exportation to the territory of Iran of goods required for humanitarian needs.”
Washington was ordered to remove sanctions that would affect Iran’s civilian population, namely the ones restricting medicine and medical devices, food products and spare mechanical parts vital for infrastructure, such as spare parts for aviation maintenance.
However, the US argued that the court had no jurisdiction in the case as it concerned its national security.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which monitors Iran’s adherence to the nuclear pact, had found that Tehran fully complied with the agreement.