World Court orders US compensation over frozen Iranian assets

ICJ votes down larger bid from Tehran over central bank assets

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ordered the US to pay compensation to Iran. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has said the US broke international law in freezing some Iranian assets but rejected a larger claim relating to funds from Iran's central bank.

In a ruling on Thursday, it demanded compensation from Washington after Tehran claimed the US had breached a 1995 friendship treaty by freezing some Iranian assets, including more than $2 billion from state bank accounts.

The total amount of compensation will be subject to negotiations, the ICJ said, and may result in another case at The Hague if an agreement cannot be reached.

However, the ICJ said it did not have jurisdiction, based on the 1955 Treaty of Amity, over a larger Iranian claim linked to its central bank.

The main body of the case focused on Bank Markazi and its frozen assets of $1.75 billion in bonds, plus accumulated interest, that are held in a Citibank account in New York.

In 2016, the US Supreme Court ruled money held in its central bank could be used to compensate victims of the 1983 bombing of a US military base in Lebanon believed to be linked to Iran.

Tehran brought the case to the ICJ the same year, claiming it was an attempt to destabilise the government.

More than 300 people were killed, including 241 Americans, in the bombing.

While Iran has long denied involvement, a US District Court judge in 2003 found Tehran responsible.

Updated: March 30, 2023, 4:18 PM