US calls ruling a defeat for Iran, ends treaty

The United Nations flag flutters in the wind next to the International Court of Justice in the Hague the Netherlands

However, although ICJ rulings are binding, the court has no power to enforce them.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the system, which will be set up by EU member states, will allow "European companies to continue trade with Iran".

But Trump pulled out of the deal in May, arguing that funds from the lifting of sanctions under the pact had been used to support terrorism and build nuclear-capable missiles.

The U.S. must "remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from" the re-imposition of sanctions on medicines and medical devices, foodstuffs and agricultural commodities, and spare parts, equipment, and associated services needed for the safety of civil aviation, the court ruled.

The Iranian foreign ministry said the decision "vindicates the Islamic Republic of Iran and confirms the illegitimacy and oppressiveness" of U.S. sanctions.

The 2015 nuclear deal saw Iran agree to limit its nuclear programme and let in global inspectors in return for an end to years of sanctions by the West.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani praised Europe on Wednesday for taking a "big step" to maintain business with Tehran after the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the deal.

A curb on "economic warfare"?

The second round of punitive measures is due in November.

This is essentially the first time worldwide judges have ruled on what's been described as a case of "economic warfare".

Bolton, who last month unleashed a torrent of criticism against the International Criminal Court, noted that previous Republican administrations had pulled out of various international agreements and bodies over "politicized cases".

Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani faced off at the United Nations in September, with Rouhani denouncing leaders with "xenophobic tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition".

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What were the arguments in court?

The United States withdrew from the 1955 Treaty of Amity which normalized relations with Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday.

The sanctions were imposed by United States president Donald Trump, after he pulled out of Tehran's nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, national security adviser John Bolton said the administration also was pulling out of an amendment to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that Iran or others, notably the Palestinians, could use to sue the United States at The Hague-based tribunal.

He also said that there are existing exemptions for humanitarians purposes in the sanctions regime.

The treaty, which was signed in Tehran, established consular and economic relations between the USA and Iran.

Why did the United States abandon the nuclear deal?

The U.S. had argued its national security concerns were sufficient to impose the sanctions, a move that came after President Donald Trump in May declared Iran non-compliant with the nuclear deal that had brought sanctions relief in exchange for limiting Iran's nuclear program.

In Iran, the threat of renewed sanctions have been taking a toll since at least the spring.

The next batch of USA sanctions on Iran, due to come into force in November, target Iran's lucrative oil industry and energy sector. Tehran has stayed in accordance with the agreement, despite the USA pullout, while also trying to salvage a deal with the remaining stakeholders: Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France.

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