On 31st July, U.S. President Barack Obama announced additional sanctions against Iran’s energy and petrochemical sectors. In the meantime, The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the imposition of sanctions under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), bared Bank of Kunlun from directly accessing the U.S. financial system. U.S. financial institutions may not open correspondent or payable-through accounts for Bank of Kunlun in U.S. and any financial institutions that currently hold such accounts must close them within 10 days.
The U.S. side imposing sanctions on Bank of Kunlun has severely violated the principles of international relations, should be corrected immediately.
The US Treasury alleged that Bank of Kunlun has provided hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in financial services, including holding accounts, making transfers and paying letters of credit, to more than six Iranian banks those were blacklisted by Washington either for their links with Iran’s weapons of mass destruction programs or for their support for international terrorism. The U.S. side imposing sanctions on Bank of Kunlun has severely violated the principles of international relations, should be corrected immediately.
First of all, UN Security Council resolutions cannot become the basis of U.S. sanctions against Bank of Kunlun. The UN Security Council imposed six rounds of sanctions on Iran nuclear issue, among which four contain specific sanctions: resolution 1737, 1747, 1803 and 1929. Among them, Article 21 of Resolution 1929 adopted on June 9, 2010 has made provisions on financial services sector. It calls upon all States to prevent providing financial services to sensitive activities that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear proliferation or R & D activities on nuclear weapon delivery systems. However, what should be noted is that Iranian banks, which have business contacts with Bank of Kunlun, including Bank Tejarat – the bank that the U.S. government specifically emphasized, are not in the list of sanctions of the Security Council resolution. In other words, these Iranian banks are only included in the "blacklist" defined by United States domestic law. With normal state-to-state relations, China and Iran have normal, open and transparent business cooperation in the energy and trade areas. Such cooperation has nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program. So Bank of Kunlun is not in violation of any UN Security Council resolutions, and sanctions should not be imposed on Bank of Kunlun.
Secondly, by purely invoking its domestic laws to impose sanctions against Bank of Kunlun, the United States has violated norms governing sovereign equality of States. As the UN Security Council resolution cannot be the excuse on sanction, U.S can only use domestic law: <The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010> (CISADA), in subsection c of section 104 the Minister of the US Treasury is authorized to limit or prevent the behavior of foreign financial institutions knowingly engaged in favor of Iran in five aspects, including facilitating the efforts of the Government of Iran (including efforts of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps or any of its agents or affiliates)—to acquire or develop weapons of mass destruction or delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction. According to the U.S. Treasury announcement, Kunlun Bank violates the above rule so as to cause sanction. But apparently, the United States is attempting to impose its own domestic law to other countries. However, sovereign equality of States is the basic norm of international relations. According to the first rule of Article 2 in Charter of the United Nations, the Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members. And repeatedly emphasized in the 7th rule, nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter. According to above principles of international relations, since the sovereign equality of States, other countries do not need to comply with the obligations of the United States domestic law; the United States cannot impose its own unilateral will to other countries. The above mentioned U.S domestic laws apparently have the nature of extraterritorial; pursue hegemony and power politics.
Thirdly, U.S persecution of other country legal entity violates the rule of international customary law: the host country should protect foreigners. With the development of principles of international relations, as early as in 1920s, the international community has been generally recognized the fact that State cause damage to foreigners within its borders belongs to an internationally wrongful act, the State shall bear international legal responsibility. Here foreigners include both nature person and legal person. As mentioned earlier, Bank of Kunlun neither violates the United Nations resolutions, nor has anything to do with Iran’s nuclear issue. So it is subject to the legitimate institution protected by principles of international relations. The United States simply invoke the domestic law on unprovoked persecution towards foreign legal entity for political needs, it violates the rule of international customary law that host country should protect foreigners in its territory, which constitutes an internationally wrongful act, the United States shall take the responsibility.
In fact, when the U.S. legal are imposed sanctions in other countries, the United States is consistent with such request in other countries. For example, as early as in 1898, when Salvador deprived shipping franchise in Triunfo from U.S. companies, the United States requested that Salvador should compensate for this. When the local government of Sicily (Italy) levied in the U.S. Company Elsie (ELSI) in 1968, the United States accused Italy on the United Nations International Court of Justice. So do as you would be done by.
It is not the first time that U.S imposes unprovoked sanctions against Chinese Legal entities. In January 2012, The United States used same excuse to impose sanctions on China Zhuhai Zhenrong by its domestic law. Therefore, in order to curb the further infringement of the Chinese legal entities, China should exercise diplomatic protection towards U.S. sanctions on Kunlun Bank. Diplomatic protection is one of the most important means of national protection of legal abroad in modern principles of international relations. As early as in 1995, the United Nations General Assembly considered diplomatic protection to be one of the major issues of principles of international relations. It refers to the exhaustion of local remedies when their own nationals (natural persons and legal persons) by the host of an internationally wrongful act against the legitimate rights and interests of foreigners and remains unresolved, the state of the host country should take diplomatic action or legal peace acts to protect their own nationals. Based on the above analysis, China exercises diplomatic protection against the United States has sufficient basis in principles of international relations.
UN Security Council resolution on sanctions against Iran on the legal status takes precedence over domestic law of the member States; it is the basis for countries to develop laws respectively. The UN Security Council does not require member States to completely interrupt the financial cooperation with Iran. Behavior of the U.S. sanctions on Bank of Kunlun cannot find any basis in the Security Council resolutions. On the contrary, the sanction is a serious violation of relevant principles of international relations, should be stopped immediately in order to avoid further damage to bilateral relations and international order.
(Forwarded from Legal Daily)