Nicole Gaouette, Jamie Crawford — CNN Oct 3, 2018
The Trump administration walked back its commitment to two international agreements Wednesday, withdrawing from a 63-year-old friendship treaty with Iran and limiting its exposure to decisions by the International Court of Justice.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that the US is withdrawing from a 1955 “Treaty of Amity” with Iran after Tehran successfully made an international complaint that Washington had violated that accord.
And national security adviser John Bolton, citing Iran’s “abuse of the ICJ,” said the US would withdraw from the “optional protocol” under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
“We will commence a review of all international agreements that may still expose the US to purported binding jurisdiction dispute resolution in the International Court of Justice,” Bolton said. Palestinians also brought a complaint against the US to the ICJ in September, challenging the Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Together, the moves reflect a push by the Trump administration to emphasize sovereignty over international cooperation and counter perceived threats to US independence, a central focus for Bolton who has railed against “global governance” and distrusts multilateral institutions.
“It is clearly part of a bigger campaign to undermine international institutions and its notable that Bolton emphasized that the US is going to be aiming to remove itself from any further jurisdiction,” said Richard Gowan, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Policy Research at United Nations University. “I think that’s part of Bolton’s underlying agenda. He’s quite obsessed with restraints on US policy making.”
The US limited its exposure to the ICJ in the 1980s and now, said David Bosco, a professor at Indiana University’s School of Global and International Studies, the US is “trying to make itself much harder to sue in international courts,” but that also means “if some other country is violating a treaty, the US won’t be able to bring a case against it.”
“I think they’ve decided they’re not going to use these courts very much, ‘mainly it’s a place where we get attacked,’ so we’re going to pull out,” Bosco said, describing it as “more of a symbolic thing and part of Bolton’s broader push, as he sees it, to protect the United States from the jurisdiction of international courts.”
The International Court of Justice ordered the US on Wednesday to lift any sanctions that affect goods required for “humanitarian needs” in Iran.
Tehran brought a complaint against the US in July, arguing that the US decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear pact and reimpose sanctions violated the 1955 treaty.
Iran also said the US had violated the international nuclear agreement with its unilateral withdrawal in May, and that its re-imposed sanctions were so broad, that they are hurting ordinary Iranians.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif criticized the US decision to withdraw from the Treaty of Amity on Wednesday.
US abrogated JCPOA -a multilateral accord enshrined in UNSC Resolution 2231- arguing that it seeks a bilateral treaty with #Iran. Today US withdrew from an actual US-Iran treaty after the ICJ ordered it to stop violating that treaty in sanctioning Iranian people. Outlaw regime. https://t.co/soi0CGOhO0
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) October 3, 2018
“US abrogated JCPOA -a multilateral accord enshrined in UNSC Resolution 2231- arguing that it seeks a bilateral treaty with Iran. Today US withdrew from an actual US-Iran treaty after the ICJ ordered it to stop violating that treaty in sanctioning Iranian people. Outlaw regime,” he wrote on Twitter.