Iran's FM Rejects US Court Ruling on 1983 Beirut Bombing

Iran's FM Rejects US Court Ruling on 1983 Beirut Bombing
Fri Apr 22, 2016 09:25:12

Iran’s foreign minister says the country refuses to recognize a recent ruling by the US Supreme Court, which authorizes the transfer of around USD two billion of frozen Iranian assets to the families of the victims of a 1983 bombing in Beirut.

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks on Thursday in New York, where he has been staying since Monday to attend a UN debate on Sustainable Development Goals and the signing ceremony of the Paris climate change agreement as well as to meet foreign officials.

“As we said, we do not recognize the court’s ruling and the US government knows this well,” he said, adding, “The US knows this well too that whatever action it takes with respect to Iran’s assets will make it accountable in the future and it should return these assets to Iran,” PRESS TV reports.

On Wednesday, the tribunal ordered the sum be paid to the families of the victims of the explosion, which targeted a US Marine Corps barracks in the Lebanese capital, and other attacks blamed on Iran.

The blast in Beirut, the single deadliest attack on US forces abroad since World War II, claimed the lives of 241 people [FILE PHOTO:AP]

The assets belong to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which have been blocked under US sanctions.

“The ruling has mocked law,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said earlier in the day, adding that it “amounts to appropriation of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s property” in the US.

Later in Tehran, Iran has rejected a ruling by the US Supreme Court that clears the way for families of victims of the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut and other attacks to collect nearly $2bn in frozen Iranian funds.

The state IRNA news agency quoted the spokesman of Iran's foreign ministry, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, as saying on Thursday that "such a verdict is a theft of the assets and properties of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

"From the United Nations, Ansari spoke to IRNA and said Wednesday's ruling is "tantamount to a ridicule of justice and law"."

The plaintiffs also sought compensation related to other attacks including the 1996 Khobar Towers truck bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 US service members.

Iran always denies any links to the attack.

Asked whether the matter will be brought up during a planned meeting between Zarif and his American counterpart, John Kerry, on Friday, the top Iranian diplomat said the meeting would only address Iran’s July 2015 nuclear agreement with the  P5+1 countries and its proper implementation.

The historical nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed on July 14, 2015 following over two years of intensive talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and China – plus Germany.

“Our discussion at the meeting will follow up on previous negotiations over JCPOA. It has been agreed that the American side consider the points brought up by us during the previous meeting regarding the proper implementation of JCPOA and provide us with answers.”

The two officials held a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.


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