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Iran to sue US for assets seizure at The Hague: Rouhani

10 May 2016 15:12



President Hassan Rouhani says Iran will soon lodge a complaint against Washington with The Hague over a US court ruling that paves the way for the use of billions of Tehran’s frozen assets.

“The government will never allow for the money that belongs to the Iranian nation be easily gobbled up by the Americans,” he told a large crowd in the southeastern city of Kerman on Tuesday.

Rouhani pledged that Iran would “take this case to the International Court [of Justice] in the near future and will not spare any effort towards the restoration of the nation’s rights through legal, political and banking channels.”

On April 20, the US Supreme Court ruled that nearly $2 billion of Iran’s frozen assets had to be turned over to the American families of the victims of a 1983 bombing in Beirut and other attacks. The Islamic Republic has denied any role in the attacks.

The money, which belongs to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), had been blocked under US sanctions before the court ruling.

Tehran has denounced the seizure of the frozen assets as “highway robbery,” vowing that the Islamic Republic will retrieve the sum anyway.

Last week, 120 member states of the Non-Aligned Movement denounced the US ruling, calling it a violation of Washington’s international and treaty obligations concerning “the sovereign immunity of states.”

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Tuesday urged the Foreign Ministry to take the case of the US misappropriation of Iranian assets to The Hague-based International Court of Justice.

“We also ask Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee to diligently pursue this issue,” he said.

Larijani said, “Even when this (misappropriation) was not possible through US legal channels, Congress passed a law tailor-made for the case.”

Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani

He was referring to a law passed by Congress, which included a provision making it easier for the Americans to use Iranian funds frozen in the US.

Iran says the action was unconstitutional because Congress was encroaching on the power of the judiciary.

The Central Bank of Iran also says the US Congress passed the law to change the outcome of the case. It has asked the US federal courts to decide whether that violates the constitutional separation of powers.

Larijani said “the US banditry goes against all international regulations.”

“This attitude is akin to that of brigands,” he said, noting that the action had been taken “brazenly and frivolously.”

‘Europe sending arms to Syria’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Larijani said an arms-laden vessel had recently been sent from Europe to Syria amid a shaky and repeatedly-violated ceasefire.

The truce, brokered by Russia and the United States, went into effect late February in a bid to facilitate negotiations between warring sides to the 2011-present conflict.

“There is nothing more pathetic for the West and the US that, while themselves have been pestered by Daesh and al-Nusra, they send arms-carrying vessel to Syria to reap tactical benefits,” the official said.

“They must be sure that these weapons will in the future [end up in] terrorists’ hands [and] be flowed back to them,” he added.

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