Iran owes terror victims $43.5B in unpaid damages
DENVER—Members of Congress will be hearing legislation, the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, prohibiting sanctions relief for Iran until it pays the court-ordered damages it owes to victims of terrorism.
Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood released the following statement:
“State-sponsored terrorism has led to incessant bus bombings, attacks on our Marines, suicide attacks, assassinations and hostage-takings, and the victims and their families deserve better than being forgotten by supporters of the Iran Deal who chose to enrich the masterminds of horrific terrorism. Sen. Michael Bennet supported the president’s deal with Iran and needs to be exposed for what he has done. This bill will help draw attention to the absolute outrage of giving hellacious terrorists a free pass and the money they need to pursue their dangerous agenda.”
Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism, has accumulated a debt of $43.5 billion in unpaid damages through more than 80 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) cases over the last 15 years, according to the Congressional Research Service.
From the legislative summary provided by Congress:
“This bill prohibits the President from waiving, suspending, reducing, providing relief from, or otherwise limiting the application of sanctions against Iran under any provision of law, or refraining from applying sanctions pursuant to requirements under the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (as amended by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015) for any nuclear agreement with Iran, until the President has certified to Congress that Iran has paid each judgment:
- that was brought against it, or against it and any other country;
- for which Iran was not immune from the jurisdiction of U.S. courts under specified terrorism exceptions to immunity under the judicial code; and
- that was entered during the period March 4, 2000-May 22, 2015.”
Bill sponsor Congressman Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., argues that in order for the Iran Deal to move forward, President Obama will “need to waive victim’s rights to funds awarded to them.”
Meehan also said that the president has to either “certify to Congress that Iran is no longer engaged in acts of terror” or “state that it’s in the best interest in the United States of America” to waive these judgments.
The measure currently has at least 84 co-sponsors.