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United States pulls out of 1955 treaty with Iran, says measures long overdue

Judges enter the International Court of Justice or World Court in the Hague Netherlands where they ruled on an Iranian request to order Washington to suspend U.S. sanctions against Tehran Oct. 3 2018

The International Court of Justice at the United Nations has issued an "order" Tuesday demanding that the United States lift sanctions against Iran re-imposed after the Trump administration chose to pull out of a nuclear proliferation treaty inked with Iran during the Obama years.

Pompeo announced the termination of a 1955 treaty that established economic relations and consular rights between the two countries.

"The Iranians have been ignoring it for an awfully long time, we ought to have pulled out of it decades ago", he told reporters at the State Department.

The ruling by the International Court of Justice "once again shows that the United States government [.] is day by day becoming more isolated", the foreign ministry said in a statement.

In a 29-page ruling, the judges said that USA sanctions could stop Iran importing humanitarian items and have "a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran". The ICJ's rulings are binding, but the tribunal has no power to enforce them.

Diplomatic relations were severed following Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979 and the takeover of the US Embassy and ensuing hostage crisis.

The 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, saw Iran agree to limit its nuclear program and let in worldwide inspectors in return for an end to years of sanctions by the West.

Iran took the USA to the ICJ twice; first in 1988 over the downing of Iran Air flight 655 and the killing of all 290 people on board and in 1992 in relations to United States attacks on Iranian oil rigs in 1987 and 1988.

Tehran had argued that the sanctions imposed since May by the administration of President Donald Trump violate the terms of that 1955 Treaty of Amity between the two countries, signed when Iran's last shah held power.

The court ruled that the United States must roll back sanctions that would hamper Iran's ability to important medicine, food, and spare parts necessary for civilian airline safety.

"This marked a useful point for us to demonstrate the absolute absurdity" of the treaty, he said. "It rightly rejected all of Iran's baseless requests", Pompeo told reporters.

Last month, Bolton said that the 2,200 USA troops inside Syria are "not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias".

"The injunction issued by the International Court of Justice showed once again that it is the USA government that is becoming more and more isolated due to its wrong and extremist policies and, as a result, excessive demands from other countries".

"It's closing doors which shouldn't be open to politicize abuse, which we've consistently seen in the ICJ", said Bolton.

Ahead of the decision, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the sanctions were a form of "psychological warfare" aimed at regime change.

Earlier, Pompeo denounced the Iranian case before the United Nations court as "meritless" and said the Treaty of Amity was meaningless and absurd.

The US is expected to challenge the court's jurisdiction in a future hearing.

At the General Assembly last week, Trump said that "the United States will provide no support in recognition to the International Criminal Court".

Despite worldwide criticism, Washington is pushing ahead with the measures.

Since Trump walked away from the deal, Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused the United States of violating global law and bullying other countries to stop trading with Iran.