The ruling by the International Court of Justice dismisses US objections and opens the way for the court to hear the case on its merits, a process that could take years.

The ruling may also have implications for a second case at the court in which Iran is contesting US sanctions against Tehran.
The ruling may also have implications for a second case at the court in which Iran is contesting US sanctions against Tehran. (Reuters Archive)

Dismissing US objections, judges at the International Court of Justice on Wednesday ruled that the UN body has jurisdiction to hear a claim by Iran to recover $1.75 billion in assets frozen by Washington.

The ruling opens the way for the court to hear the case on its merits, a process that could take years.

The case filed in June 2016 centres on assets from the Iranian national bank, Bank Markazi, seized by US courts to compensate families of victims of a 1983 bombing of a US Marine Corps base, which Washington blames on Iran.

TRT World 's Frank Ucciardo brings more from New York.

Iran denies involvement in the Beirut attack that killed 307 people, including 241 US military personnel.

The United States had argued that Iran based its claims on an essentially outdated 1955 Amity Treaty, which Washington has said it will renounce.

The court's 15-judge panel "unanimously finds that it has jurisdiction .... to rule on the application filed by the Islamic Republic of Iran," presiding Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf said in a reading of the decision.

The ruling may also have implications for a second case at the court in which Iran is contesting US sanctions against Tehran.

Iran has argued that sanctions imposed in May by the administration of US President Donald Trump also violate terms of the 1955 Amity Treaty. 

US charges former Air Force intel agent with defecting to Iran

The US Justice Department charged a former Air Force intelligence official on Wednesday with spying for Iran, saying she exposed a fellow US agent and helped the Revolutionary Guard target her former colleagues for cyberattacks.

US officials said Monica Witt, who worked for years in US Air Force counterintelligence, had an "ideological" turn against her country and defected in 2013, turning over information on US intelligence operations against Tehran.

The US also indicted four Iranians working for the Revolutionary Guard, who, using information Witt provided them, targeted her former colleagues in US intelligence with malware and other hacking tools in hopes of accessing their computer networks.

The announcement also included sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard-related New Horizon Organization, organisation officials and a company tied to the hacking effort.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies