Human Rights

Congressman Introduces Bill Demanding Iran Pay Terror Victims Before Getting Sanctions Relief

Over the past 15 years, the government of Iran has been found liable in American courts for more than $40 billion in restitution to victims of terror attacks conducted by groups it sponsors. A bill introduced to the House of Representatives last week would mandate that Iran pay that money to victims before it receives any sanctions relief under the nuclear deal.

The sponsor of the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, Rep. Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), explained his rationale on the website Medium.

Among the many dangerous consequences of the proposed nuclear deal with Iran will be the removal of an array of sanctions on Iran and the Ayatollah’s regime. The removal of these sanctions and the release of Iranian assets frozen overseas will pump $150 billion into the Iranian economy seemingly overnight.

Many of these dollars will line the pockets of Iran’s radical Revolutionary Guard Corps. The IRGC, through its paramilitary Quds Force, has funded some of the world’s most violent Islamic terrorist groups and has left in its wake decades of bombings, hijackings, murders and kidnappings.

Hundreds of Americans are among Iran’s victims. Courts have found Iran complicit in some of the most horrific acts of terror in American history, including the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, and the 9/11 attacks.

A press release announcing the introduction of the bill added:

The Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act, H.R. 3457, prohibits the President from waiving sanctions or “refrain[ing] from applying” sanctions pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action until Iran pays the judgments it owes. The President must certify to Congress that the Government of Iran has paid all its judgments.

“Iran should not get a red cent in U.S. sanctions relief until it has paid its victims what they are owed,” said Meehan. “I oppose the Iran deal, but surely we can all agree that Iran should not reap any benefits from the U.S. until it has compensated the families of those whose lives were taken by Iranian terrorism.”

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) as amended gives U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism the ability to bring suit in U.S. courts and collect damages from those states.

In addition to killing American soldiers and civilians via proxy groups, Iran has also detained Americans on dubious charges. Bridget Johnson examined this phenomenon in Why Does Iran Keep Taking American Hostages?, which was published in the September 2015 issue of The Tower Magazine. While some have attributed the taking of current American hostages to a power struggle between Iranian moderates and hardliners, Ahmad Batebi, himself a former hostage, told Johnson that the hostage taking is a policy of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“We will have this behavior in the future. I cannot see a good future for human rights inside and outside Iran,” Batebi said. “Keeping these people in the prison is the Supreme Leader’s policy.” …

Ahmad Batebi believes that the biggest obstacle to the release of American hostages is that the real culprits are the IRGC and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. “The real government is that one, the government in the shadow,” he says. “The taking of Americans is approved by Khamenei. All details are sent to the Supreme Leader. He would send back details of what they should do. The Hassan Rouhani government is a puppet.”

[Photo: RepMeehan / YouTube ]