Case Concerning United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran
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Case Concerning United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran is a case (issued in two decisions) brought to the International Court of Justice by the United States of America against Iran in response to the seizure of United States diplomatic offices and personnel by militant revolutionaries.
The first decision was an Order of Provisional Measures, issued December 15, 1979. This was the court issuing an opinion not on the merits underlying the case specifically, but rather ordering a preservation of the respective rights and obligations the two countries owed one another pending the final decision of the court. More specifically, the Court unanimously declared Iran should ensure the restoration of the U.S. embassy in Tehran to U.S. possession, release the hostages, and afford diplomatic officials full protections as afforded by international law.
The second decision addressed the actual merits of Iran's actions. Iran took no part in the proceedings.
The case was the first real instance of the Court and the Security Council acting together to bring a crisis to an end.
The ICJ considered the case in hand in two phases. The first phase referred to the armed attack on the US Embassy in Tehran by militants and students of Iran. The question asked was whether the militants and the students were 'agents' of the Iranian Government and therefore, acting on their behalf. The second phase comprises the whole series of facts which occurred following the completion of the occupation of the US Embassy by militants and the seizure of the Consulates.
The Court reached a judgement on 24 May 1980.
- International Court of Justice, 24 May 1980, Case Concerning United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran
- International Court of Justice, United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran (United States of America v. Iran) - proceedings, judgement, and two dissenting opinions
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