TEHRANinfo-icon:  President Donald Trumpinfo-icon recieved a major blow Wednesday after the International Courtinfo-icon of Justice (ICJinfo-icon) ordered the United Statesinfo-icon to halt the unilateral sanctions it recently re-imposed on Iraninfo-icon giving Islamic republic a symbolic victory in the United Nationsinfo-icon' top court.

The International Court of Justice said anything that has an impact on humanitarian aid and civil aviation safety must be suspended.

The Hagueinfo-icon-based court, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, announced its ruling on Wednesday regarding the July lawsuit brought by Tehran against Washington's decision to re-impose unilateral sanctions following the USinfo-icon exit from the the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran's lawsuit argued that the sanctions violate the terms of the 1955 Treaty of Amity between Iran and the US. It also called on the court to order Washington to immediately suspend the measures.

What did the court say?

In their ruling, the 15-strong panel of judges unanimously dismissed US objections that the court had no jurisdiction. Washington had argued that Iran's action was a misuse of the court.

The ruling also rejected US assurances, given in August, that sanctions would not affect humanitarian conditions. This was "not adequate to address fully the humanitarian and safety concerns raised" by Iran, the court said.

It said US sanctions must not hurt medicines and medical devices; foodstuffs and agricultural commodities; or parts, equipment and services necessary for civil aviation safety.

The first batch of American sanctions reimposed on Iran in August included foodinfo-icon and commercial aviation.

Iran has welcomed the ruling. "The decision proved once again that the Islamic Republic is right and the US sanctions against people and citizens of our country are illegal and cruel, "the foreign ministry said in a statement on Tasnim news agency and state mediainfo-icon.

What impact will the ruling have?

The court action brought by Iran was part of a drive on several fronts to isolate Washington, following the US withdrawal from the 2015 accord which lifted sanctions in return for constraints on Iran's nuclear programme.

However, although ICJ rulings are binding, the court has no power to enforce them.

The Trump administration has been dismissive of the international court and the president did not back down from his threat to rip up the nuclear agreement.

The US president says he hated the deal as it did not address Iran's alleged wider meddling in the Middle Eastinfo-icon.

The next batch of US sanctions on Iran, due to come into force in November, target Iran's lucrative oilinfo-icon industry and energy sector. Iran's economyinfo-icon has been under enormous pressure with many people suffering hardship, and recent months have brought a wave of anti-government protests.

Iran and the EU have been working actively to keep the nuclear accord alive, and protect international companies doing businessinfo-icon with the country from US sanctions.

President Hassan Rouhani praised Europe on Wednesday for taking a "big step" to maintain business with Tehran after the United States' unilateral withdrawal from the deal. He was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying that Trump was acting for "domestic political gains".

However, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said the door remains open to talks with the US, as long as the meeting is "reliable" and the talks meaningful.

What remains unclear is the extent to which the goal of the Trump administration is to force Iran back to the negotiating table - or to go further and push for regime change in Tehran.

In a post on his Twitterinfo-icon account on July 16, Foreign Minister Zarif said the complaint challenged the US "unlawful re-imposition of unilateral sanctions."

"Iran is committed to the rule of law in the face of US contempt for diplomacy & legal obligations. It's imperative to counter its habit of violating int'l law," he tweeted.

In May, Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear agreement, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite objections from the other signatories to the accord.

In August, he re-imposed the first round of sanctions on Iran. The second phase of US bans will come into effect next month.