beirut bombing 224.88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Iran on Saturday dismissed a US federal judge's ruling that the Islamic Republic must pay US$2.65 billion to the families of the 241 US service members killed in the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut.
"The American judge's ruling is baseless. Americans have taken repeated measures contrary to legal principles. ... This ruling against Iran is politically motivated and the result of pressures," the official IRNA news agency quoted government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham as saying.
US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth described his ruling on Friday as the largest-ever such judgment by an American court against another country. It was the worst terrorist act against US targets until the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Teheran has been blamed for supporting the militant group Hizbullah, which carried out the suicide bombing in Beirut.
Iran has denied responsibility for the attack. It did not respond to the 6-year-old lawsuit and was represented only by an empty table in the US federal courtroom.
On Sunday, Elham said a US court was not in the position to issue such a ruling.
"Some US courts, without listening to the other side's views and due to its unjustifiable and irrational links, issue verdicts against Iran that are not legally defendable," Elham was quoted by IRNA as saying.
Elham said Iran's presidency was pursuing the case and hinted that Iranian courts were open to hearing cases against the US for harming Iranians over the decades. He did not elaborate.
Friday's ruling allows nearly 1,000 family members and a handful of survivors to try to collect Iranian assets from various sources around the world. Finding and seizing that money will be difficult, however, and the families are backing a law in US Congress that would make it easier for terrorism victims and their families to do so.