American terror victims warn: “Don’t unfreeze Iranian assets”

Shurat HaDin, otherwise known as the Israel Law Center, has sent warning letters to eleven banks holding Iranian assets, warning them that they should not release Iranian funds held in their possession until the Iranian government pays compensation to American terror victims.
Shurat Ha-Din head Nitzana Darshan-Leitner Photo Credit: Shurat Ha-Din

Shurat Ha-Din, otherwise known as the Israel Law Center, has sent warning letters to eleven banks holding frozen Iranian assets, warning them that they should not release Iranian funds held in their possession until the Iranian government pays compensation to American terror victims.  Even though the sanctions are supposed to be lifted against Iran in the framework of the nuclear deal signed between the Islamic Republic and the world powers, Iranian bank accounts that hold between $100 and $150 billion have been blocked due to a “Citation to Discover Assets,” which was issued against Iran on October 26, 2015 in the Rubin vs. the Islamic Republic Iran case in a federal court in Illinois. 

According to the Citation, banks holding Iranian assets are forbidden from “making or allowing any transfer or other disposition of or interfering with any property not exempt from execution or garnishment belonging to Iran or to which Iran may be entitled or which may be acquired by or become due to Iran and from paying over or otherwise disposing of any money not so exempt that is due or becomes due to Iran until further order of court or termination of the proceeding.”

Shurat HaDin continues to work to restrain the millions of dollars in Iranian assets until Iran pays compensation money to the victims and families of US terror victims.  According to the Israeli human rights organization, Hamas implemented a triple suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 1997.    Shurat HaDin noted that five US citizens were severely injured in these three terror attacks and Iran stands behind terror attacks implemented by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in which US citizens were killed and injured: “Iran has been found liable in numerous federal court cases of providing material support and resources to Islamist terror groups.”

In 2003, a Washington, DC court ruled that the families of the five US terror victims should get $371,500 in damages that was supposed to be paid by the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Since that date, the victims’ families have been waiting for this money but it was for the most part not paid.     Shurat HaDin noted that usually Iran does not recognize US courts but in this instance, they had subjected themselves to the American court ruling because the attorneys for the victims’ families heard that the University of Chicago possessed ancient Persian artifacts and were moving to have them confiscated so that they would not be returned to Iran.   Due to this reality, Iran subjected themselves to the US courts in order to contest the terror victims’ claims to seize the ancient Persian artifacts and as a result, they are now subject to its ruling.

According to Shurat HaDin, if the banks proceed to transfer funds to Iran after the issuing of the Citation, they could find themselves liable for aiding and abetting fraudulent transfers under American law.   Evidently, the five families of the US terror victims who fell victim to Hamas triple suicide bombings in 1997 are not the only ones whom Iran has not paid the compensation money that they were legally entitled to.   Iran owes American terror victims more than $43 billion in unsatisfied court judgments that it has vowed it will never pay. Moreover, Iran has publicly pledged that it will utilize the funds slated to be released under the Iranian nuclear deal to bolster terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“We are demanding that these foreign banks recognize the citation we served and continue to restrain these Iranian accounts until the court can order them to be turned over to the terror victims,” Shurat Ha-Din head Nitzana Darshan-Leitner stated.  “The $100 billion in frozen funds is the last leverage the families have to compel Iran to satisfy their judgments. If you release these funds, you erase all hope for the families of ever getting a measure of justice against this outlaw regime. The law requires the banks to continue to block the accounts despite whether or not the White House cancels the sanctions that originally froze them. We are warning the banks that if they ignore the citation and release the funds back into the hands of the Islamist extremists in Tehran, they themselves will obligated to compensate the victims for their unsatisfied judgments.”   



Click Here for more reports by Rachel Avraham

Found mistakes in this report? - Click Here

JerusalemOnline News Feed