US Court Rulings to Seize Iran Assets Illegal

US Court Rulings to Seize Iran Assets Illegal
US Court Rulings to Seize Iran Assets Illegal

Lawmakers said a recent US court decision to require Iran to forfeit millions of dollars under US jurisdiction on the pretext that it supports terrorist groups has no legal base, describing the move as a “psychological game” played by Washington to up the pressure on Iran.

In a recent talk with ICANA, lawmaker Bahman Taherkhani, a member of Majlis Judicial and Legal Commission, dismissed the court action as “an act of international lawlessness”, saying that “condemnation of Iran for actions of a liberation movement [Hamas] fighting against an occupying regime [Israel] is not accepted under international law and we will not tolerate it”.

On July 27, a US federal judge awarded victims of an attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in Beit-ul-Moqaddas and their family members nearly $209 million from the Islamic Republic’s assets after allegedly linking the country with that attack. The verdict was a default judgment in that the defendant, namely Iran, failed to appear in court.

The US court decision came after a string of other similar decisions in the past.

In April 2016, the US Supreme Court ruled that $2 billion of frozen assets belonging to Iran had to be turned over to the American families of the people killed in the 1983 barracks bombings in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran.

Iran denied any role in the attack and said the money confiscated under the US court ruling belongs to the Central Bank of Iran.

The assets had been blocked under US sanctions. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the ruling as “highway robbery”, vowing to work to recover the sum.

In a bizarre ruling in March 2016, a US judge also ordered Iran to pay over $10 billion in damages to families of victims who died on September 11, 2001—even though there is no evidence of Tehran’s connection to the attack.

The same judge earlier cleared Saudi Arabia of culpability. The ruling is noteworthy, particularly since none of the 19 hijackers on September 11 were Iranian citizens. Fifteen were citizens of Saudi Arabia, while two were from the UAE and one each from Egypt and Lebanon.

Lawmaker Mohammad Ebrahim Rezaei attributed the US actions to a “psychological game” aimed at pressuring Iran.

“Holding such court hearings in the US is totally unfounded. They are just part a propaganda campaign,” he said.

Rezaei called into question the US courts’ claims regarding Iran’s role in terrorism and seizure of huge sums of money for that matter.

“Iran has been a victim of terrorism in a number of cases where the US was directly involved,” he said, promising that it is Iran that would take action against the US for damages caused by its backing for terrorists.

Iran says 17,000 of its citizens, of which 12,000 fell victim to the terrorist Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization, have been killed in terrorist attacks claimed by organizations supported by western countries, particularly in the US.

MKO is a hated terrorist group among the Iranians because of its dark history of assassinations and bombings, and for siding with former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s. The group is currently based in France, with US congressmen and other high-ranking White House officials visiting them occasionally.

Rezaei noted that “the US measures show that their actions are based on rage and anger [toward Iran] and have no international legal base whatsoever”.

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