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Friday, September 07, 2007

US court fines Iran 2.65 billion for attack on U.S. Marines

Fat chance collecting but good for the court for finding Iran responsible and fining them a 2.65 billion dollar judgment.

A US federal court on Friday ordered Iran to pay 2.65 billion dollars to the families of 241 soldiers killed in the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut.

"The court hopes that this extremely sizeable judgment will serve to aid in the healing process for these plaintiffs, and simultaneously sound an alarm to the defendants that their unlawful attacks on our citizens will not be tolerated," judge Royce Lamberth said in his ruling from a federal court in Washington DC.

A previous court ruling in 2003 held that Iran provided financial and logistical help for the lethal 1983 attack carried out by the militant group Hezbollah.

"It is clear from testimony presented to this court ... that intense suffering experienced on that day has had a tragically lasting effect on the plaintiffs who have brought this action," Lamberth wrote.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled Friday the families could pursue legal action on a state level, if appropriate.

This Court is sadly aware that there is little it can do to heal the physical wounds and emotional scars suffered by the servicemen in this case and their family members, Lamberth said. Though the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, occurred nearly 24 years ago ... it is clear from the testimony presented ... that the intense suffering experienced on that day has had a tragically lasting effect on the plaintiffs who have brought this action. (Source)

It was unclear how lawyers would collect from Iran, which the Bush administration has labeled "a rogue nation." Tehran has denied responsibility for the attack, according to The Associated Press. It did not respond to the six-year-old lawsuit, AP reported.

"This is a sense of victory, of winning a battle," said Paul Rivers, who was a 20-year-old enlisted Marine on the second floor of the barracks when it exploded, according to AP. "When we win the war is when we collect, when we make them pay for what they did."

Lamberth ruled in May 2003 that Iran was responsible for the attack, which also wounded 26 people. He concluded that the suicide truck bombing was carried out by the militant group Hezbollah with the approval and funding of Iran's senior government officials.

Hezbollah is blamed for anti-Western and anti-Israeli terrorist acts dating from the early 1980s and is on the U.S. State Department's official list of terrorist organizations. (Source)

Well said Mr. Rivers.

More to come if Tehran responds to this judgment.