United Nations court "orders" U.S. to lift sanctions on Iran

Oh, dear. Whatever shall we do? The United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) has issued an “order” to the United States saying that we have to drop various “humanitarian sanctions” against Iran immediately. The judges in the Hague have found that certain sanctions affecting medical supplies, food and… airplane parts (?) are all in violation of a friendship treaty we had with Iran dating back to the fifties, well before the Islamic revolution there. (Times of India)

The UN’s top court ordered the United States on Wednesday to suspend sanctions on “humanitarian” goods for Iran in a stunning setback for US President Donald Trump.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) handed down the bombshell judgement after Iran asked it to halt economic measures that Trump reimposed after pulling out of a landmark nuclear deal with Tehran.

Judges in The Hague unanimously ruled that the sanctions on some goods breached a 1955 “friendship treaty” between Iran and the US that predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

The ICJ has long claimed the power to issue such orders to member nations and they hand out rulings like this on a semi-regular basis. Such decrees are defined as being “binding” and there is no process for appealing one of their rulings. But as the Times of India points out, they have absolutely no mechanism to enforce their decrees.

Particularly given Donald Trump’s attitude towards the U.N. and other global organizations when it comes to American sovereignty, what do you think the odds are that he’s going to sheepishly turn around and say, oops! My bad. I guess we’ll just cancel the sanctions now? Given the current state of relations between the United States and the UN, it’s honestly something of a miracle that we haven’t kicked them out of Turtle Bay over unpaid bills and converted their headquarters into a casino resort by now.

Also worth noting is that the ICJ is basing their ruling on a treaty we had with a government that hasn’t existed for forty years. We haven’t even had official diplomatic relations with them since around 1980 and you expect us to honor a treaty we made under Eisenhower with the government the Mullahs overthrew? Besides, sanctions are the one tool we have in our kit which at least has a chance of forcing bad actors to behave in a more civilized fashion without resorting to military force. I think the judges in the Hague would be even less happy if we were settling our differences with cruise missiles.

I’m looking forward to the official White House response, or perhaps something from Nikki Haley. While they’ll probably be a bit more polite, it should really include something about sticking the court’s decree where the sun doesn’t shine.