Iran calls for lifting of "unjust" US sanctions (Lead)

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The Hague : Iran on Monday requested the judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed on the country by the United States.

"The sanctions are unjust and harmful," Mohsen Mohebi, head of the International legal affairs center of the Iranian President's office, told judges on Monday at the Peace Palace here. "The sanctions are damaging the economy of Iran, and driving millions of people into poverty," Xinhua news agency reported.

Iran asked the judges to find that the US breached its obligations to Iran, and order it to terminate the sanctions without delay, as well as any threats about further sanctions.

Iran is also asking judges to ensure the US guarantees it will not violate its obligations again, and will fully compensate Iran for the violation of its international legal obligations.

The lawsuit followed the decision by US President Donald Trump in May to quit the nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015. The US has announced the full reinstatement of nuclear sanctions on Iran as well as a high level of economic sanctions targeting, directly or indirectly, Iran and Iranian companies, or nationals.

After the US reinstated the sanctions, Iran started proceedings against it before the ICJ on July 16.

According to Iran, the US violated a 1955 friendship treaty between the two countries, the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights, and requested the court to indicate provisional measures.

Iran gave its oral arguments on Monday and on Tuesday the US will have the opportunity to issue their reaction. The second round of oral arguments are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week. The announcement of the order on the provisional measures by the judges can take months.

The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the UN. Its role is to settle legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and specialized agencies, in accordance with international law. The seat of the court is in The Hague.