The United States never disputed that the attacks undertaken on October 19, 1987, and April 18, 1988, against the oil platforms situated on the continental shelf of Iran in the Persian Gulf came within the international law on the use of force. In effect, in the letters addressed to the U.N. Security Council following the attacks, the United States affirmed that its conduct was framed by the law of self-defense pursuant to Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. The first attack, which led to the destruction of the Reshadat complex, was, evidently, undertaken in response to the firing of a missile, imputed to Iran, which had hit the Sea Isle City, an American-flagged oil tanker then in the territorial waters of Kuwait. The second series of attacks launched against the Nasr and Salman oil installations were, according to the United States, undertaken in response to the collision of an American warship in international waters, the Samuel B. Roberts, with a mine which, again according to the United States, had been laid by Iran.
Did the Court Miss an Opportunity To Denounce the Erosion of the Principle Prohibiting the Use of Force?,
Yale J. Int'l L.
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