White House pulls out of treaties with Iran, Palestinians

Yesterday we learned that the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) had issued an “order” for the United States to lift sanctions on Iran. Their decision was based on an antiquated 1955 “friendship treaty” between Iran and America, put in place long before Iran’s Islamic revolution. While they have zero ability to enforce such an order, the move was sure to provoke a response from the Trump White House.

As it turns out, that didn’t take long at all. Less than twelve hours later the White House announced that it was canceling that treaty, along with another agreement which included the Palestinians. (Associated Press)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the U.S. is canceling a 1955 treaty with Iran establishing economic relations and consular rights between the two nations.

The move follows a ruling by the United Nations’ highest court ordering the United States to lift sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods.

Iran alleges that the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration after its withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran violated the so-called Treaty of Amity.

Pompeo told reporters Wednesday that the termination of the treaty was decades overdue. He said that Iran was abusing the International Court of Justice for political and propaganda purposes.

While Pompeo was nixing the Treat of Amity with Iran, John Bolton was announcing another foreign policy change. He told reporters that the United States was also pulling out of an amendment to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. That’s another treaty that dates back to the early sixties. (The United States ratified it in 1972.)

Bolton noted that the specific provisions of the Vienna agreement left the United States open to nuisance lawsuits from Iran, the Palestinians and other bad actors, similar to the case that was just concluded against us in the Hague. In fact, both nations have already begun a second suit against the United States which the same UN court is preparing to hold hearings on this month.

One of the reasons Pompeo called the Amity treaty with Iran “absurd” is that they’ve been ignoring – and violating – it for decades. They’ve only dredged it up now because it was politically convenient to do so. But the very first article in the treaty says, “there shall be firm and enduring peace and sincere friendship between the United States of America and Iran.”

Oh, really? I think once you set fire to our embassy, took all of our people hostage and held them for 444 days, the whole “sincere friendship” thing sort of went out the window. If the people of Iran want a new treaty with the United States that can actually be upheld, they could start by kicking out some of their leaders, opening up all of their nuclear sites for international inspectors and getting rid of their tactical weapons program. Of course, then there won’t be any need to argue about sanctions because we’d have dropped them anyway.