US argues at International Court of Justice that Iran sanctions are legal

US argues at International Court of Justice that Iran sanctions are legal
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The U.S. argued on Tuesday that it had legitimate cause to reimpose sanctions on Iran, pushing back against a challenge from Tehran at the International Court of Justice.

The Associated Press reported that Jennifer Newstead, a legal adviser for the State Department, asked judges at the world court to reject a request from Iran to compel the U.S. to lift the sanctions. Iran has argued that the sanctions are intended solely to damage its economy, and violate a 1955 treaty.

“The United States does intend, lawfully and for good reason, to bring heavy pressure to bear on the Iranian leadership to change their ways,” Newstead said, according to the news service.

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She argued the sanctions are necessary for national security reasons, and to pursue peace in the Middle East, the AP reported. Additionally, the U.S. has argued that Iran is using the 1955 treaty as a pretext to get out from under stiff sanctions.

Iranian lawyers reportedly argued Monday at the United Nations-affiliated court that the U.S. is "plainly in violation of the 1955 Treaty of Amity," which was agreed upon as part of an effort to emphasize "friendly relations" and "mutually beneficial trade and investments" between the two nations.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran spiked earlier this year when President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Iran nuclear pact that had offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

The U.S. reimposed a first round of sanctions earlier this month, with more significant penalties scheduled to go into effect in November.

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