NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Justice Delayed

October 15, 2015

Over the last twenty years, U.S. federal courts have leveled nearly 100 judgments against the Iranian government for complicity in numerous attacks against the United States. The Islamic Republic still owes billions in settlements to its American victims and the White House refused to demand payment as part of the deal, says senior fellow David Grantham of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

  • A federal court awarded plaintiffs approximately $9 billion in damages in connection to the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, which killed 241 U.S. service members.
  • U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled that Iran owed $320 million in settlements for orchestrating the 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy, which killed 17 Americans.
  • Iran owes around $66 billion to American victims of its terror policies.

The administration maintained those legal claims were unrelated to the negotiations. But those judgments were not based on some fuzzy, unenforceable international law outside the scope of U.S. authority. They concerned U.S. territories and American citizens, ending in judgments both conceived and executed in U.S. federal courts. Moreover, the deal itself revolved around reclaiming financial assets.

According to updated estimates, Iran will now receive upwards of $150 billion from previously frozen accounts. The money owed to Iran's victims amounts to less than half of that total. The math made for an easy solution, it would seem.

As reviewers begin exposing the agreement to the light of day, the nuclear deal is beginning to look as promising as finding ocean side property in South Dakota. This latest development now only heaps more disrepute on the administration's already unsettling pattern of negotiation. Indeed, as we reflect on other ill-conceived compromises, such as the Bergdahl-swap, the administration should be reminded that Iran's victims actually served with distinction.

Source: David Grantham, "The Suffering of Iran's Victims Will Endure," Townhall, October 9, 2015.


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