US Angry at Unfavorable ICJ Ruling, Withdraws From Two International Pacts
After a ruling by the ICJ that angered the U.S., the country is now looking at pulling out of all international agreements that expose them to ICJ jurisdiction.
Last Wednesday, the Trump administration pulled out of two international treaties after Palestine and Iran lodged a complaint to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding U.S. foreign policy, marking the latest Washington withdrawal from multilateral agreements.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton announced Washington would review all international treaties that could expose it to binding solutions issued by the ICJ, as Reuters reported. Bolton also slammed the ICJ for being politicized and ineffective.
“We will commence a review of all international agreements that may still expose the United States to purported binding jurisdiction, dispute resolution in the International Court of Justice. The United States will not sit idly by as baseless politicized claims are brought against us,” Bolton stated.
Earlier in the day last Wednesday, the ICJ handed a victory to Iran when it ordered the U.S. to ensure that U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran – which will be tightened next month – would not affect humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety.
The ICJ is the United Nations’ primary judicial body to resolve legal disputes between states. Both Iran and the U.S. have ignored ICJ rulings in the past. ICJ rulings are binding but the Hague-based court has no power to enforce them.
Tehran argued that sanctions imposed by Washington in May of this year violated the Treaty of Amity signed in 1955. The U.S. responded by withdrawing from the lesser-known agreement which had been signed by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The treaty was a symbol of friendship between the two countries, a closeness largely resulting from the U.S. orchestrating a coup in Iran to install Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations
Bolton also accused Iran of abusing the ICJ for its own interests and political propaganda and added Washington would plan to withdraw from the “optional protocol” under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is an international treaty which set up a framework for diplomatic relations between states. The agreement is also the legal foundation for diplomatic immunity. One of the two optional protocols the U.S. has now withdrawn from states that disputes arising from the interpretation of the treaty are to be settled before the ICJ.
The U.S.’ withdrawal from the Viena Convention’s optional protocol and the Treaty of Amity continues the trend of the Trump administration to pull out of major international accords. Since Donald Trump took office almost two years ago, the U.S. has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, the climate agreement (the Paris accord), left UNESCO and threatened its NATO allies that Washington will go its own way if NATO members do not increase their defense budget.
Iran’s Reaction to US Withdrawal
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Washington’s latest withdrawal from the international pacts proves the unreliability of the U.S.
“We’re not actually eager to meet with (US President Donald Trump) because the United States is not a reliable negotiating partner,” Zarif told Aljazeera in an interview on Friday.
It is too early to predict the impact of the ICJ’s ruling on the Iranian sanctions but the U.S. has claimed it already ensures sanctions do not affect humanitarian aid. The EU, with China and Russia, has prepared a plan called the Special Purpose Vehicle aimed at keeping Iran in the deal.