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News > Iran

ICJ Orders US to Repay Iran US$2B in Frozen Assets

  • The ICJ “unanimously rejected

    The ICJ “unanimously rejected" the U.S.'s decision to seize and freeze funds from Iran and Iranian companies. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 February 2019

The United States began secretly freezing funds within U.S. Citibank bank accounts in 2008.

The United States owes Iran US$2 billion in frozen assets, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Wednesday, adding that Tehran can proceed with a bid to recover the impounded funds.


Trump Accuses Iran of Being Main Sponsor of Terrorism

On Wednesday, the 15-membered United Nations affiliate determined that the US claims and alleged terrorism links did not have jurisdiction in the Hague court and were insufficient to defend their case.

In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Iran must deliver the sum of US$2 billion dollars to the families of victims killed during alleged Iranian terrorist attacks, namely a U.S. Marine barracks bombing in 1983, and the bombing of Saudi Arabia’s Khobar Towers in 1996.

Making history as one of the largest seizure of Iranian property since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the United States began secretly freezing funds within U.S. Citibank bank accounts in 2008. The majority of funds was distributed to the 1,000 family members, victims of alleged Tehran terrorist attacks, and only about 23 percent of the original amount remains in the bank account.

Iran retaliated, invoking international intervention from the ICJ in 2016, citing a breach in the bilateral 1955 friendship contract, the Treaty of Amity, which guaranteed protection for both nations’ property and barred "restrictions on the making of payments, remittances, and other transfers of funds."

With still more hearings to come in the near future, the organization’s chief judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said the ICJ “unanimously rejects the preliminary objections to admissibility raised by the United States of America.

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