US will 'vigorously defend' against Iran court challenge: Mike Pompeo

Brian Hook State Department director of policy planning fields questions from journalists during the announcement of the creation of the Iran Action Group at the State Department in Washington

Iran demanded in The Hague that the top United Nations court suspend the unilateral USA sanctions, which were slapped back on three weeks ago following the U.S. withdrawal from a landmark 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran.

The United States will "vigorously defend" itself in the International Court of Justice against Iran's challenge to the reimposition of USA sanctions, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday.

"This policy is nothing but a naked economic aggression against my country", Mohebi told the court. It told the court the measures were already devastating its economy and threatening the welfare of its citizens.

Although the United States' European allies have protested against Trump's move, most Western companies intend to adhere to the sanctions, preferring to lose business in Iran than be punished by the United States or barred from doing business there.

"Iran will put up the strongest resistance to the USA economic strangulation, by all peaceful means".

The U.S. previously said it does not acknowledge the court's jurisdiction regarding the case.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the statement on Monday as legal proceedings began before the court in The Hague.

Rulings of the ICJ - also known as the World Court - are binding, but it does not have power to enforce them.

The sanctions target financial transactions and imports of raw materials, cars and aircraft among other sectors.

Washington reinstated the first batch of sanctions in early August and will re-impose the second batch in November which will primarily be meant to undermine Tehran's oil exports.

They urged the court to order the suspension of the sanctions pending a definitive ruling. A decision on the urgent request for a suspension is likely to take weeks.

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Sanctions had been lifted under a 2015 multilateral agreement in return for Iran committing not to pursue nuclear weapons.

He said it "failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to a Iranian nuclear bomb".

"But this case is unusual as it is a wholesale attack on global law grounds, on the current snapback of United States sanctions against Iran", she said. The freefall of rial's value against foreign currencies has not affected most of these Iranians, who are payed in dollars, euros, or pounds.

Global companies including France's Total, Peugeot and Renault, and Germany's Siemens and Daimler, have suspended operations in Iran since Trump announced the USA withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May.

The Iranian case comes in the wake of President Donald Trump's announcement in May that he would pull the United States out of a 2015 agreement over Iran's nuclear program and would reimpose sanctions on Tehran.

"The proceedings instituted by Iran are a misuse of the Court", he said later on Monday.

Hearings in that case are due to start on October 8.

It said the sanctions would cause it "irreparable prejudice" are in breach of the 1955 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations between Iran and the United States.

Despite the treaty, the two countries have not had diplomatic ties since 1980.

Air France and British Airways announced last week that they would halt flights to Tehran next month, saying they were not commercially viable.

European leaders, including Britain's Theresa May and France's Emmanuel Macron, have been fighting to keep the deal alive, but are struggling to save it from collapse in light of the fresh sanctions.

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