December 23, 2015 | Quote

Congress and Obama Agree on Something: Iran Should Pay Victims

A Supreme Court case on compensating victims of terrorism gives House Republicans and the Obama administration a chance to agree about Iran for the first time in a long time.

With bipartisan support, the House is weighing in on a pending case in which Tehran is trying to avoid paying the American victims of terror attacks linked to the Iranian government, including the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

At issue is whether Iran’s central bank, Bank Markazi, will be forced to pay damages to over 1,300 American plaintiffs. Some are victims of attacks the U.S. government has linked to the Iranian government. Others are surviving family members of such victims.

Although U.S. courts have found the Iranian government culpable for the attacks and ordered payment, Iran has never admitted responsibility and never abided by the U.S. judicial system’s calls for it to pay billions of dollars in awarded damages. However, in 2008, the victims discovered that Bank Markazi had almost $2 billion stored in Citibank accounts in New York. The victims sued for that money, and the litigation has now reached the Supreme Court.

“If the administration was serious about helping these victims, they could have structured the nuclear agreement in a way that provided them with their compensation from the frozen oil revenues,” said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 

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