US Withdraws From International Treaties, Slams UN World Court

US seeks to avoid dispute resolution with Palestinians

Seeking to avoid complying with the consequences of previously-signed treaties, the US announced that they are outright withdrawing from multiple agreements today. This included the 1955 Treaty of Amity with Iran, and the 1961 Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes.

The 1955 Treaty of Amity was a little known treaty signed by the US and Iran after the 1953 CIA coup. The treaty was cited in an Iranian lawsuit aiming to prevent parts of US sanctions being enforced, and Iran won that lawsuit on Wednesday.

It is unclear if the 1955 treaty was really that big of a part of the court ruling, which merely said the US has to exempt humanitarian goods from the sanctions. The US decision to withdraw from the treaty will, however, likely be used to claim the ruling doesn’t apply anymore.

The Vienna Convention, by contrast, is a far-reaching diplomatic agreement, which the US was an early signatory of. The protocol the US withdrew from on Tuesday was one in which disputes between nations are to be resolved peacefully on the international stage.

US officials aren’t keen on that, because it might require them to settle disputes instead of just endlessly escalating them with new sanctions and other measures. The Palestinians are seeking redress of disputes with the US centering on the relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Though the US was an early signatory to this provision, according to John Bolton their real objection is that the Palestinians were allowed to sign at all. The State of Palestine signed the protocol earlier this year, but the US doesn’t recognize them as a state, and considers them to have no rights to resolve such disputes in international courts.

Bolton argued further that Iran is politicizing the International Court of Justice, and that the US views the court as ineffective and is moving away from complying with ICJ rulings in general.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of