Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote to Ban a week
after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, calling on the
Secretary-General to use his "good offices in order to induce the
U.S. Government to adhere to its international obligations."
Zarif's appeal comes amid increasing Iranian frustration at what
they say is the failure of the United States to keep its promises
regarding sanctions relief agreed under an historic nuclear deal
struck last year by Tehran and six world powers.
In the letter, released by the Iranian U.N. mission, Zarif asked Ban
to help secure the release of frozen Iranian assets in U.S. banks
and persuade Washington to stop interfering with Iran's
international commercial and financial transactions.
"The U.S Executive branch illegally freezes Iranian national assets;
the U.S Legislative branch legislates to pave the ground for their
illicit seizures; and the U.S Judicial branch issues rulings to
confiscate Iranian assets without any base in law or fact," Zarif
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser Ali Akbar
Velayati was quoted by Iranian state media as saying that "Iran will
never abandon its right and will take any necessary action to stop
such an international theft."
"This money belongs to Iran," he said.
Ban's spokesman and the U.S. mission to the United Nations did not
immediately respond to requests for comment on the letter or the
accusations made against the United States.
Zarif told Ban he wanted to "alert you and through you the U.N.
general membership about the catastrophic implications of the U.S.
blatant disrespect for state immunity, which will cause systematic
erosion of this fundamental principle."
[to top of second column]
The U.S. Supreme Court found that the U.S. Congress did not usurp
the authority of American courts by passing a 2012 law stating that
Iran's frozen funds should go toward satisfying a $2.65 billion
judgment won by the U.S. families against Iran in U.S. federal court
"It is in fact the United States that must pay long overdue
reparations to the Iranian people for its persistent hostile
policies," Zarif wrote, citing incidents including the shooting of
an Iranian civil airliner in 1988.
Last week Zarif met several times with U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry in New York to discuss Iranian problems accessing
international financial markets.
Tehran has called on the United States to do more to remove
obstacles to the banking sector so that businesses feel comfortable
investing in Iran without fear of penalties.
Some hardline lawmakers have called on the government of President
Hassan Rouhani to consider the ruling a violation of the nuclear
deal reached with the United States and other major powers in 2015.
(Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara; Editing by James
Dalgleish and Richard Pullin)
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