UN Highest Court Orders US To Lift Iran Sanctions On Humanitarian Goods
The United Nations’ top court today ruled that the United States must lift any sanctions against Iran that would hinder humanitarian trade for the Islamic Regime.
In the Wednesday ruling, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, ordered Washington to “remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments” to the free exportation of humanitarian goods and civil aviation necessities in the wake of re-imposed sanctions against Tehran.
Iran’s state-run television hailed the decision as “The victory of Tehran over Washington by the Hague Court,” according to WNBC-TV.
The ruling by the International Court of Justice is legally binding, but it is a matter of time to find out if the administration of President Donald Trump will comply.
Trump moved to restore tough U.S. sanctions in May after withdrawing from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers. Iran challenged the sanctions in a case filed in July at the International Court of Justice.
In a preliminary ruling, the court said that Washington must “remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from” the re-imposition of sanctions to the export to Iran of medicine and medical devices, food and agricultural commodities and spare parts and equipment necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed the court’s ruling over Twitter, calling it “another failure for sanctions-addicted [United States government] and victory for rule of law.”
But while the ruling is legally binding, the court has no real enforcement powers and Washington already makes allowances for the trade of humanitarian goods.
Foundation for Defense Democracies senior adviser Richard Goldberg told USA Today, “U.S. sanctions already have a humanitarian exemption for food, medicine and agriculture commodities — an exemption mullahs often use to make money on the black market while denying the Iranian people access to humanitarian goods.”
But many — including Iranian surgeon Hamidreza Vafayi — say that the refusal of international banks to work with Iran has cut off the country’s ability to obtain critical supplies.
Vafayi told AFP, “As far as I know, there is no official statement on sanctioning medicine trade with Iran. Yet when we cannot have banking ties (with the world) we are in fact under an undeclared medicine sanction regime. The truth is that no company would sell us drugs now.”
Official Iranian statements acknowledge the shortage of medicines and say imports of certain drugs are no longer subsidized.
“We are currently short of 80 pharmaceutical items,” Mohammad-Naeem Aminifard, a member of parliament’s health commission, told semi-official news agency ISNA.
“The government and insurers have removed the support for foreign drugs that have a domestic equivalent which intensifies the pressure on patients.”
Iran produces 96 percent of the drugs it uses, according to the Syndicate of Iranian Pharmaceutical Industries, but imports more than half the raw materials to make them.
The double-whammy of banking sanctions and a collapse in the value of its currency make total self-sufficiency difficult if not outright impossible.