European Court's Seizure of CBI Assets Violates Int'l Law

European Court's Seizure of CBI Assets Violates Int'l LawEuropean Court's Seizure of CBI Assets Violates Int'l Law

Spokesman for the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said the freeze on $1.6 billion of Iranian assets imposed by a European court not only contravenes international law, but is against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

JCPOA is the formal name of the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, under which Iran limited its nuclear work in exchange for the removal of international sanctions.

"According to the deal, parties should avoid actions that threaten Iran's economic interests and prevent it from reaping benefits from trade with other countries," Seyyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini also told ICANA on Tuesday.

The parliamentarian was referring to a New York Times report on Monday that quoted unnamed sources as saying that $1.6 billion in assets belonging to the Central Bank of Iran, held by the Clearstream financial firm in Luxembourg, have been frozen on the order of a judge in Luxembourg, under a lawsuit by a group of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by Al-Qaeda.

Hosseini called on the Foreign Ministry to show strong reaction to the illegal move and take legal measures to prevent similar seizures in future.= Plaintiffs hope the funds will be seized to pay off a portion of the default judgments handed down by an American federal court in 2012, $2 billion in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive damages.

In 2011, the victims persuaded the court to hold Iran guilty for allegedly aiding the attacks by Al-Qaeda, through facilitating the travel of Al-Qaeda members through its territory. Under a fundamental principle in international law called state immunity, claims against a sovereign state must be pursued either in accordance with mechanisms provided for in bilateral or multilateral agreements or through international courts or tribunals, as appropriate. Over the last two decades, since the US Congress carved out a terrorism case exception to the general rule that people cannot use courts to sue foreign governments, victims of various terrorists attacks have racked up more than $50 billion in default judgments against Iran.

Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled the CBI must turn over $2.1 billion in Iran's frozen assets to the victims of the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing in Lebanon, allegedly linked to Iran.

Iran is challenging the ruling in the International Court of Justice in The Hague to take the money back.


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