Iran slams ‘unlawful’ US bid to seize assets
A senior Iranian official has censured US efforts to have Tehran’s assets frozen in the country turned over as compensation to American victims of bombings in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
“The US judicial apparatus, with the support of the country’s administration and Congress, has been issuing and enacting rulings against the Islamic Republic of Iran for years, violating basic principles of international law with recourse to unsubstantiated and baseless allegations,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said on Friday.
“Some US courts are making a travesty of justice and law, having sentenced the Islamic Republic of Iran over the past few years to paying restitution to victims of terror acts carried out by known citizens of US allies.”
The case in the US involves over 1,300 plaintiffs, who have demanded compensation over two bombings, namely the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
Iran has dismissed any role in the attacks and rejected rulings by US circuit and appeals courts to hand over USD 2 billion in frozen Iranian assets in Citibank accounts in New York to the plaintiffs.
The money belongs to Bank Markazi, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), and has been blocked under US sanctions.
The CBI has appealed against such rulings, and the case has reportedly moved to the Supreme Court, with the administration of US President Barack Obama urging it not to overturn previous verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs.
In his Friday comments, Jaberi Ansari said, “The US government has demonstrated that its hostile measures against Iran persist regardless of realities and under the influence of Zionist circles, and that there are no signs of efforts toward understanding and utilizing the situation and reducing the Iranian government’s and nation’s deep mistrust of US policies.”
Jaberi Ansari’s reference to US failure to “utilize” the situation apparently relates to the new opening after the conclusion of a deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries in July.