Iran urges UN chief to intervene over US court ruling

US court blames Iran and rules that $2 billion frozen assets must be paid back to victims of attacks.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at UN headquarters in New York.

Iran has requested UN chief Ban Ki-moon persuade the United States to stop violating state immunity after a top US court blamed Tehran and ruled that $2 billion frozen Iranian assets must be paid back to victims of attacks.

Iran's Foreign Minister Javid Zarif appealed to the UN chief amid increasing Tehran frustration at what it claimed to be failure of the United States to keep its promises regarding sanctions relief agreed under an historic nuclear deal struck last year between Tehran and six world powers.

Zarif wrote to Ban a week after the US Supreme Court ruling, calling on the Secretary-General to use his "good offices in order to induce the US Government to adhere to its international obligations."

In the letter, released by the Iranian UN mission, Zarif asked Ban to convince the United States to release the frozen Iranian assets in US banks and persuade Washington to stop interfering with Iran's international commercial and financial transactions.

"The US Executive branch illegally freezes Iranian national assets; the US Legislative branch legislates to pave the ground for their illicit seizures; and the US Judicial branch issues rulings to confiscate Iranian assets without any base in law or fact," Zarif said.

However, Ban's spokesman and the US mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the letter or the accusations made against the United States.

Zarif told Ban he wanted to "alert you and through you the UN general membership about the catastrophic implications of the US blatant disrespect for state immunity, which will cause systematic erosion of this fundamental principle."

The US Supreme Court found that the US Congress did not seize the authority of American courts by passing a 2012 law stating that Iran's frozen funds should go toward satisfying a $2.65 billion judgment won by the US families against Iran in US federal court in 2007.

"It is in fact the United States that must pay long overdue reparations to the Iranian people for its persistent hostile policies," Zarif wrote, citing incidents including the shooting of an Iranian civil airliner in 1988.

Last week, Zarif met several times with US Secretary of State John Kerry in New York to discuss Iranian problems accessing international financial markets.

Tehran has urged the United States to do more to remove obstacles to the banking sector so the countries can comfortably invest in Iran without fear of charges. 

TRTWorld, Reuters