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Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America)

1996 I.C.J. Rep. 803 (Dec. 12)

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Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America)

International Court of Justice

1996 I.C.J. Rep. 803 (Dec. 12)

Facts

During the 1980–1988 war between Iran and Iraq, Iran (plaintiff) attacked commercial ships in the Persian Gulf engaged in trade with Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. Iran asserted that these Arab countries were supporting Iraq despite the fact that these Arab countries claimed neutrality in the war. The United States (defendant) destroyed a number of Iranian oil production platforms in the Persian Gulf in response, concluding that Iran used the oil platforms to coordinate attacks against neutral commercial vessels. In response, Iran brought a challenge to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Iran argued that the ICJ had jurisdiction under a dispute-resolution clause in Article XXI of the 1955 US-Iran Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights (the Treaty of Amity). The United States objected to the ICJ exercising jurisdiction over the dispute, arguing that the dispute fell instead under international laws on the use of force and self-defense rather than the Treaty of Amity.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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