U.S. President Donald Trump, second right, is flanked by, from left, Security Adviser John Bolton, the US ambassador to Finland Robert Frank Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a working breakfast with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018 prior to his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Earlier today, the UN’s International Court of Justice ruled that some US sanctions were barred by a 1955 treaty that the US had signed with Shah of Iran. On its face, this seems rather bizarre as the entity with whom we made the treaty, the Shah, is dead. His family is in exile. And Iran is run by a vicious thugocracy with whom we’ve essentially been at war since 1979. But the ICJ has never been about justice, it has always been about making statements. The statement du jour is that Iranian oil is worth more than the lives of its citizens and that the ICJ would rather support a terror state than find in favor of the Trump administration.
The administration wasted little time in responding. First was the soft-touch:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States is terminating the Treaty of Amity reached with Iran in pre-revolutionary days, calling it an “absolute absurdity” given the tensions between the two countries.
The impetus for the United States tearing up the treaty was a decision earlier Wednesday in the International Court of Justice, which ordered the Trump administration to lift some sanctions on Iran. The top U.N. court, which is in The Hague, does not have the power to enforce its decisions, which are usually ignored by the United States anyway.
“We ought to have pulled out of it decades ago,” Pompeo said, calling it “39 years overdue” in a reference to the 1979 revolution in Iran. “Today marked a useful point with the decision that was made this morning from the ICJ. This marked a useful point for us to demonstrate the absolute absurdity of the Treaty of Amity between the United States and the Islamic Republic.”
Later on, John Bolton took the stage for the White House press briefing:
"The Iranian regime has systematically pursued a policy of hostility toward the United States,” national security adviser John Bolton says after the US pulls out from a 63-year-old friendship treaty with Iran pic.twitter.com/Rfdob1fXGS
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 3, 2018
White House national security adviser John Bolton: "Iran is a rogue regime. It has been a threat throughout the Middle East."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) October 3, 2018
Bolton dismisses the International Court of Justice as "politicized and ineffective." pic.twitter.com/ACv7KtIyan
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 3, 2018
Stunning. Bolton just denounced the Int. Court of Justice, the main judicial organ of the #UN as politicized and the US will not respect its rulings. The US helped create this vital #internationallaw body. Bolton & Trump is making its architect an outlaw.
— Errol Mendes LSM (@3mendous) October 3, 2018
John Bolton: Pres. Trump has decided U.S. "will withdraw from the optional protocol and dispute resolution to the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations."
Bolton says the move is in connection with case "brought by the so-called state of Palestine" challenging embassy move. pic.twitter.com/9spQojmQen
— ABC News (@ABC) October 3, 2018
What Bolton refers to here is a case before the ICJ in which the Palestinian Authority is suing the United States in the ICJ for moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
It is recalled in the Application that, on 6 December 2017, the President of the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced the relocation of the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The American Embassy in Jerusalem was then inaugurated on 14 May 2018.
Palestine contends that it flows from the Vienna Convention that the diplomatic mission of a sending State must be established on the territory of the receiving State. According to Palestine, in view of the special status of Jerusalem, “[t]he relocation of the United States Embassy in Israel to . . . Jerusalem constitutes a breach of the Vienna Convention”.
As basis for the Court’s jurisdiction, the Applicant invokes Article 1 of the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes. It notes that Palestine acceded to the Vienna Convention on 2 April 2014 and to the Optional Protocol on 22 March 2018, whereas the United States of America is a party to both these instruments since 13 November 1972.
When Bolton refers to Palestine he actually uses air quotes.
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) October 3, 2018
Asked about referring to the “so-called state of Palestine,” John Bolton says: “It is accurate. It is not a state.” pic.twitter.com/XY46v7A9Wf
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) October 3, 2018
Sometimes blessings come in strange packages. The Iranian regime has used this “Treaty of Amity” against the US several times in the past and somehow we kept it in place. After Trump’s UN speech that focused heavily on American sovereignty, it would be easy to imagine some weenie in the State Department arguing to just leave these bullsh** treaties in place because they don’t hurt us and pulling out will make us the bad guy. In fact, based on Pompeo’s reaction, I can nearly guarantee you that they had this discussion at a recent staff meeting and Pompeo set aside his own best instincts and went with the stripey-pants crowd. Hopefully, this episode will lead to a critical review of what we’re signed onto and why we are signed onto it. In particular, any treaty with Russia should be reevaluated as all they do is lock in Russia’s status as a US peer when, in reality, it is a Third World kleptocracy with nukes and a drug problem.