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NY court OKs $1.75B award in Iran terror cases

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that $1.75 billion for terrorism-related judgments against Iran can be distributed to victims of attacks, including a 1983 bombing that killed 241 Marines in Lebanon.

Washington lawyer Thomas Fortune Fay said the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruling affects 1,300 individual cases that were combined in New York.

A three-judge panel rejected arguments by attorneys for Bank Markazi, the central bank of Iran, which had argued that turning over the money would conflict with U.S. obligations in a 1955 treaty signed with Iran. The 2nd Circuit said turning over the assets was "entirely consistent" with the terms of the treaty.

Lawyers for the bank did not immediately return a message for comment Wednesday.

Fay said the decision was welcomed by several hundred families affected by those killed or injured in the attack on the Marines barracks. He said each family was likely to receive about $18 million once the appeals were completed. The money already is in the custody of a court-appointed trustee after President Barack Obama in 2012 ordered property and interests of Iran, including assets of Bank Markazi, be blocked.

"We're certainly pleased with the ruling," Fay said. "These folks have stuck with it all these years."

Fay said the litigation began about 13 years ago, and roughly 87 percent of the judgment approved last year by U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest will go to victims of the attack in Lebanon. The judge said she had authority to order the judgment under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 and a law enacted specifically to address assets in the case.

James P. Bonner, another lawyer for victims, called it a "wonderful day for our deserving clients, who have waited decades for some justice for Iran's terrorist acts."

In filing lawsuits to recover money from Iran, lawyers had argued that evidence showed the Iranian government acted alone, and that its late supreme cleric, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and other top leaders ordered, authorized and executed the bombing.

A truck carrying more than 2,000 pounds of explosives sped past a sentry post and exploded outside the Beirut barracks in the early hours of Oct. 23, 1983, as many servicemen slept. Lawyers for victims contended the explosion was part of a larger plot to drive all Americans out of Lebanon.

The Marines killed and wounded in the attack were part of a multinational peacekeeping mission. The lawsuit against Iran was filed under a 1996 U.S. law that allows Americans to sue nations that the State Department considers sponsors of terrorism for damages suffered in terrorist acts.

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moradadavislodi July 09 2014 at 5:49 PM

The families deserve it. However, I hope the attorneys don't end up with the bulk of the award.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
ram4131 July 10 2014 at 10:17 AM

Well.......now that we have a precedent on the books, let's start a suit against Saudi Arabia. Just about ALL of the 911 a-holes came from there.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
bigred8690 July 10 2014 at 12:50 AM

And the IRS will take their cut, right?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
ranger197172 bigred8690 July 10 2014 at 8:12 AM

No those awards are tax free.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
louiefcastillo July 10 2014 at 3:41 AM

Can families also get money from Iraq and Afghanistan?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
tneill1031 July 09 2014 at 4:47 PM

Big payday for the laywers also.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
kmagrowth tneill1031 August 19 2014 at 9:49 PM

Yep....more than half.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
kmagrowth tneill1031 August 19 2014 at 9:57 PM

BTW.......I know what the article says....but I also know a recipient family.......and those family members receiving compensation agreed in writing that the attorneys would be able to deduct their several years of related expenses in handling the case plus other approved compensation for their services. Still....must remember that they are receiving money......but they still lost a son, or a daughter, a parent, or a sibling.

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murphygirl123cody July 10 2014 at 5:46 AM

Will the US ever make compensation to Iran for removing their Democratically elected leader in 1953, for BP, the company whose well poisoned the Gulf of Mexico, or for installing the Shah whose state police {like the ones coming to your neighborhood if not here already] imprisoned countless thousands and helped bring the religious fundamentalists to power. The answer is no

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ROB SYKES July 10 2014 at 10:21 AM

You must remember that Iran just last month wanted to help the U.S. in Iraq. Iran are just poor misunderstood Muslims…

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ga7smi July 10 2014 at 12:13 AM

war is comming - the US will be defeated - get ready

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3 replies
Brian Workman July 10 2014 at 2:01 AM

GEE!? This only took 31 years to resolve!? I wonder how much the Attorneys still alive after 31 years, will walk away with!?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
ritteralvarez July 10 2014 at 12:26 AM

Thank you OBAMA

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1 reply
globeimpex ritteralvarez July 10 2014 at 2:13 AM

Hey you ritteralvarez. From your user name, you do not sound to be An American. Explain who is we with too many nukes. Are you including yourself as part of the equation.

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