Iranian Terrorism Victims Ask Court to Block Release of Iranian Assets Under Nuclear Deal

By Cody M. Poplin
Thursday, August 6, 2015, 11:57 AM

Two dozen plaintiffs filed suit yesterday in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York to enjoin the Obama administration from releasing an estimated $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets as part of the nuclear deal with world powers and Tehran.

The plaintiffs, who are all families of terror victims, claim to hold more than a billion dollars in court judgments against the Islamic Republic for its sponsorship of terrorist attacks committed from 1995 through 2006. In their complaint, the families claim that releasing funds as required by the Iran Deal necessarily means that they will never collect on their judgments; and further that the President cannot lawfully release the funds without certifying first that Iran has ceased to fund international terrorism---which it continues to do. They accordingly ask for mandamus as well as injunctive relief. The funds belong to the Central Bank of Iran and are primarily held in overseas bank accounts.

A State Department spokesman Pooja Jhunjhunwala told Bloomberg "the U.S. does not hold or control any of this money" and that they would "continue to work with Congress, the Department of Justice and others to explore ways to compensate victims of Iran's past activities." She also stressed that there is no connection between the expected sanctions relief and the court judgments held by the plaintiffs.

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