Iran v. USA: International Court of Justice orders the USA to suspend certain economic sanctions against Iran


On 3 October 2018, the International Court of Justice handed down its Order on provisional measures in Alleged Violations (Iran v. USA). The case concerns claims by Iran that the US economic sanctions announced on 8 May 2018 are in breach of the USA’s obligations under the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights between the two countries.

A hearing lasting four days was held in August 2018. Sean Aughey (and other Counsel) appeared for Iran and presented oral submissions.

The Court found for Iran and ordered the USA to suspend certain economic sanctions announced on 8 May 2018 pending determination of the Iran’s claims.

In its Order, the Court found that the conditions for the indication of provisional measures were satisfied and ordered that:

  1. The USA, in accordance with its obligations under the 1955 Treaty, shall remove, by means of its choosing, any impediments arising from the measures announced on 8 May 2018 to the free exportation to the territory of Iran of-
    1. medicines and medical devices;
    2. foodstuffs and agricultural commodities; and
    3. spare parts, equipment and associated services (including warranty, maintenance ,repair services and inspections) necessary for the safety of civil aviation;
  1. The USA shall ensure that licences and necessary authorisations are granted and that payments and other transfers of funds are not subject to any restriction in so far as they relate to the goods and services referred to in point (1); and
  2. Both Parties shall refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the Court or make it more difficult to resolve.

Sean Aughey is also representing Iran in a separate claim against the USA before the ICJ (Certain Iranian Assets) and will appear at the hearing on the US preliminary objections on 7-12 October.