0430 GMT January 23, 2020
The top court sent the case back to the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals, directing the lower court to consider a defense spending bill President Donald Trump signed late last year that could make it easier for American courts to collect foreign assets, according to CNBC.
The move comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran. Iran last week carried out strikes against American forces in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of the country’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, on Jan. 3.
The case was brought by victims of terror attacks, including the 1983 Beirut bombing, who have already won judgments against the country entitling them to billions of dollars in compensation. The truck bombing on international forces that year left 241 Americans dead.
In 2016, the US Supreme Court allowed the families to claim “compensation” from Iran’s assets, but the Central Bank of Iran contented that the funds were held in Luxembourg and thus could not be seized.
Last March, a Luxembourg court refused to reinforce a US ruling that would have helped families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks claim Iranian assets held by a clearing house in the tiny European country, according to Press TV.
The court ruled that there were no grounds in international law to uphold in Luxembourg a 2012 US court decision to strip Iran of sovereign immunity.
The Iranian president’s Deputy for Legal Affairs La’ya Joneidi said at the time the lawyers won the case by arguing that Sept. 11 attacks were not related to Iran.
A New York court had accused Iran of providing “material support and resources” to Al-Qaeda terrorist group which is a sworn enemy of the Iranians and awarded the plaintiffs damages of over $7 billion.
The Luxembourg court has said the plaintiffs could not continue their legal case to seize Iranian assets in the country.
Iran’s assets held in foreign banks have been subject to a witch hunt by the Americans who have used Washington’s animosity toward the Islamic Republic to easily win lawsuits against the country in US courts.
Some “plaintiffs” even tried once to seize priceless Persian artifacts held at a Chicago museum to satisfy a court judgment against Iran but their bid was blocked on appeal by the Iranian government and University of Chicago.
Iran has denounced US seizures of its frozen assets in the United States as “highway robbery” and hauled the United States before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague.
Last February, the ICJ ruled that Iran could proceed with a legal action to recover billions of dollars in frozen assets that the United States said must be paid to purported American survivors and relatives of victims of attacks blamed on the Islamic Republic.