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Iran appeals to UN amid feud with US over frozen assets

Iran has asked the UN to stop the US from using frozen Iranian assets to pay the victims of terrror attacks. Relations between the two countries have been tense despite a nuclear agreement reached last year.

Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Tehran on Thursday asked the UN to intervene in an ongoing dispute with the US involving $2 billion (1.8 billion euros) of frozen Iranian assets.

The US Supreme Court ruled last week that those assets should go to the victims of various terrorist attacks for which Iran is suspected of being responsible, including the 1983 bombing in Lebanon that killed 241 service members.

Over the past several decades, tens of billions of dollars in Iranian assets have been frozen, meaning the money has not been able to be used, thanks to sanctions leveled against it by foreign governments. The US has been at the forefront of sanctioning Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, as it has considered the country a patron of various terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah.

Iran has denied links to the terrorist attacks referenced by the US, and has warned that the US's decision could have "catastrophic implications" for the principal of state immunity.

Tense relations

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif offered a laundry list of the various transgressions committed by the US.

"The US executive branch illegally freezes Iranian national assets; the US Legislative branch legislates to pave the ground for their illicit seizures; and the US Judicial branch issues rulings to confiscate Iranian assets without any base in law or fact," Zarif's letter read, according to The Associated Press.

Relations between Iran and the US have been tense, despite Washington lifting many of the sanctions against Iran in the wake of a nuclear agreement reached last year. Tehran has complained that despite the sanctions relief the country has still been unable to take part in the international financial system thanks to US intimidation.

blc/gsw (AP, Reuters)

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