US court orders Iran to pay billions to families of 9/11 victims

A US court has ordered Iran to pay more than $6 billion to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks even though Tehran’s alleged links to the incidents had never been proven.

A federal judge in New York George Daniels on Tuesday found Iran, the country’s central bank, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps liable for the deaths of more than 1,000 people in the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Daniels’ default and symbolic judgment seeks compensation of $12.5 million per spouse, $8.5 million per parent, $8.5 million per child, and $4.25 million per sibling.

Tehran is yet to react to the latest ruling.

In 2011 and 2016 too, Judge Daniels had ordered Iran to pay billions of dollars to victims of a series of four coordinated attacks  which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Some 15 of the 9/11 perpetrators were citizens of Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and one was from Lebanon.

Although no Iranian was involved in the attacks, the 2004 US lawsuit still claimed that Tehran supported the hijackers and provided them with training and financial assistance.

Tuesday’s judgment is not linked to similar cases filed by the victims against Saudi Arabia, which claim that Riyadh provided direct support to the hijackers.

In March, Judge Daniels rejected Saudi Arabia’s request to dismiss the lawsuits. Both Saudi and Iranian cases are based on the Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (Jasta) which was passed in 2016 and allows families of the victims to take foreign governments to court.

Once again, Iran is going to ignore the court’s ruling to compensate the 9/11 victims. There is no way left for the court to force Tehran to pay the victims.

However, the order does make the families of victims eligible to collect from a small fund of seized Iranian assets that had been used to compensate the families of victims of Hezbollah attacks and other violence attributed to Iran.