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UN Court Orders US to Lift Some Iran Sanctions


A United Nations flag flutters in the wind next to the International Court of Justice in the Hague, the Netherlands, Aug. 27, 2018. Iran has been pressing the court to have U.S. sanctions against Tehran lifted.

The top U.N. court has ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran involving medicine, food and airplane parts in the latest step in a legal battle over measures the Trump administration put back in place earlier this year.

Iran had complained to the International Court of Justice the U.S. move to reimpose sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 international nuclear agreement violated a 1955 agreement between the United States and Iran.

The court said in a Wednesday ruling on provisional matters in the case the U.S. sanctions could endanger civil aviation safety in Iran, and the measures affecting food, medicine and medical devices could have detrimental impacts on the health and lives of Iranians.

The ruling directed the United States to "remove, by any means of its choosing, any impediments" affecting the free import of products in those sectors.

It further called on both countries to "refrain from any action which might aggravate or extend the dispute before the court or make it more difficult to resolve."

The court's rulings are binding, but it does not have a way to enforce them.

There was no immediate U.S. reaction, but Iran's foreign ministry welcomed the decision.

The U.S. had argued its national security concerns were sufficient to impose the sanctions, a move that came after President Donald Trump in May declared Iran non-compliant with the nuclear deal that had brought sanctions relief in exchange for limiting Iran's nuclear program..

The U.N. atomic energy agency, which is in charge of monitoring the agreement, has reported Iran is in compliance.

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