Iran threatens to pursue legal channels to regain frozen funds
TEHRAN - Iran threatened Monday to take legal action in the International Court of Justice against the United States if $2 billion in frozen funds are "diverted" to compensate victims of attacks.
On Thursday, Tehran said the US Supreme Court's decision to deduct $2 billion from its frozen assets to compensate American victims of "terror" attacks amounted to theft.
"We hold the US administration responsible for preservation of Iranian funds and if they are plundered, we will lodge a complaint with the ICJ for reparation," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
He was speaking at a joint news conference with visiting Macedonian counterpart Nicolas Poposki.
The US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Iran must hand over nearly $2 billion in frozen assets to survivors and relatives of those killed in attacks blamed on the Islamic republic.
These included the 1983 bombing of a US Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
The decision affects more than 1,000 Americans.
The official IRNA news agency on Monday cited Zarif as saying in English that if such a ruling were applied, it would be "misappropriation" of Iranian funds.
"We have announced since the beginning that Iranian government does not recognise the US extra-territorial law and consider the US court ruling to blockade Iranian funds null and void and in gross violation of the International Law," he said.
The US court's decision comes at a time of hopes for better ties between longtime foes Tehran and Washington, following a nuclear agreement last year between Iran, the United States and five other major powers.