Iran asks UN’s highest court to suspend U.S. sanctions

Airlines scrap Iran flights in a dramatic about-face

"The US is publicly propagating a policy meant to damage as severely as possible Iran's economy and Iranian national companies, and therefore inevitably Iranian nationals", Mr Mohebi told the court on Monday.

That all ended, though, when President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, under which Iran had agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting sanctions on its economy.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Maya Lester, an global sanctions lawyer, said the 1955 treaty between Iran and the United States remains in force, and had been previously invoked by both countries before the worldwide court.

"Iran's filing with the ICJ is an attempt to interfere with the sovereign rights of the United States to take lawful actions, including reimposition of sanctions, which are necessary to protect our national security".

Trump says the sanctions are needed to ensure Iran never builds a nuclear bomb.

"This policy is nothing but naked economic aggression against my country", he said.

The renewed USA sanctions on Iran have already caused an economic breakdown and a plummeting in the value of the rial.

The European Union has tried to keep an worldwide deal on the Iranian nuclear program alive despite Trump's decision in May to withdraw the United States from the agreement.

The Islamic Republic has threatened to block the waterway in the past in retaliation for the USA pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal. A second wave of punitive measures is due to hit the OPEC member state in early November, targeting its vital energy sector including oil exports.

"Turkish carriers are expected to increase passenger numbers from Iran by 20 percent as of September", the Turkish daily said. A final decision could take years.

A raft of global companies - including France's Total, Peugeot and Renault, and Germany's Siemens and Daimler - have suspended operations in Iran in the wake of the move.

Trump said the sanctions would turn up the financial pressure on Tehran to come to a "comprehensive and lasting solution" regarding its activities such as its "ballistic missile program and its support for terrorism".

The flagship airlines did not put the blame on the return of USA sanctions directly for their decisions but said that the route is "not commercially viable".

Both British Airways and Air France announced the dates of their final outbound flights of September 22 and September 17, respectively, with the returns the following day.

The US has vowed to "vigorously defend" itself against Iran's "baseless" lawsuit.

Washington's lawyers will present their case on Tuesday.

At the start of the hearings on Monday, the court's president Abdulqawi Yusuf, leading a 15-judge panel, urged the United States to respect any provisional decision the court may make.

U.S. lawyers will reportedly claim that the friendship treaty signed before the Islamic Revolution in 1979 is no longer valid and that the sanctions Washington has levied against Tehran, do not violate it anyway.

The ICJ was set up in 1946 to rule in disputes between countries. Its rulings are binding, but it has no power to enforce them and on rare occasions they have been ignored by some countries, including the United States.

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