Iran ordered to pay billions to 9/11 victims
US court rules in favour of the families of a thousand people killed in the attacks
An American judge has ordered Iran to pay billions of dollars in damages to the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks.
US District Judge George Daniels on Tuesday ruled that Iran must compensate the spouses, parents, children and siblings of more than 1,000 people killed in the hijackings.
The symbolic ruling left the Islamic Republic with a hefty bill of $12.5 million for every spouse, $8.5m for every parent and child and $4.25m for every sibling.
Iran has never replied to the lawsuit, and it remains highly unlikely that it will pay the damages.
But it remains significant, as it holds Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable for the deaths of the 1,008 victims of the families who joined the lawsuit.
“In December 2011, a New York federal court held a hearing and found that the evidence presented established that Iran’s provision of material support to Al Qaeda was a cause of the 9/11 attacks and the resulting damage, injuries and deaths”, attorney Robert Haefele of Motley Rice LLC, who represents the plaintiffs, said.
“It is difficult for those injured or left behind to ignore the findings of the federal court about Iran’s culpability."
The 9/11 attacks in New York were the deadliest attacks in US history, leaving almost 3,000 people dead after planes struck the two towers of the World Trade Centre.
The lawsuit in question was initially filed in 2004, but it could only move forward after the passing of a 2016 bill in Congress that allowed families of 9/11 victims to sue state entities for their role in terror attacks.
The 9/11 Commission, the body that was given the task of fully accounting for responsibility in the attacks, said Al Qaeda operatives in Sudan had maintained contacts with Iran and the wider network of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group that is supported by Tehran.
“Intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior Al Qaeda figures after [Osama] Bin Laden’s return to Afghanistan,” it wrote, in reference to the now-dead leader of Al Qaeda.
The report said Al Qaeda detainees had described the “willingness of Iranian officials” to facilitate the travel of Al Qaeda members through Iran and on to Afghanistan, where many of its militants were based.
Updated: May 2, 2018 12:50 PM