Case Concerning Oil Platforms (Iran v. United States)

2003 I.C.J. 161 (November 6, 2003)

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Case Concerning Oil Platforms (Iran v. United States)

International Court of Justice
2003 I.C.J. 161 (November 6, 2003)

Facts

Iraq and Iran (plaintiff) engaged in an eight-year war during the 1980s. Each country's arsenal included Silkworm missiles and underwater mines. In 1984, Iraq began attacking tankers carrying Iranian oil in the Persian Gulf. The attacks in the Persian Gulf continued and often involved the destruction of vessels from various nations passing through the international commercial route. Many of the tankers flew the flag of the United States (defendant), thereby invoking American legal and military protections. In October 1987, a Kuwaiti tanker sailing under a United States flag was hit by a Silkworm missile in Kuwait's territorial waters. The United States attributed this attack to Iran and responded by attacking two Iranian offshore oil-production platforms. The two platforms later were found to have carried multipurpose Iranian military equipment. The United States claimed to have acted in self-defense. In April 1988, an American warship suffered damage when it hit a mine laid in international waters. Once again, the United States blamed Iran and responded by attacking two more Iranian oil platforms. Iran accused the United States of violating a 1955 treaty of friendship between the two countries and instituted proceedings against the United States in the International Court of Justice.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

Concurrence (Simma, J.)

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