Monday, December 26, 2011
Last Thursday, a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granted a default judgment against the Islamic Republic of Iran and other defendants in a lawsuit alleging, inter alia, that Iran assisted several of the 9/11 defendants in carrying out their terror attacks against the World Trade Center towers in New York and elsewhere.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit are family members and legal representatives of the victims of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2011. They alleged that Iran provided material support to terrorists, including facilitating the 9/11 al Qaeda's operatives travel arrangements, and that Iran provided a safe haven for terrorists after 9/11.
The lawsuit is brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 USC 1602, and more particularly, the exception to foreign sovereign immunity for states that provide material support to terrorists. The Court determined that Iranian government has supported terrorism since its inception in the 1980s.
None of the defendants appeared in the lawsuit. The default judgment in Havlish v. Bin Laden (Dec. 22, 2011) may be found here and the findings of fact and conclusions of law may be found here (which lay out the relationship between Iran and various terrorist groups and persons, including Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and Hizballah).
Yesterday, the Iranian government disputed the findings of the U.S. court. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, stated that the allegations were unfounded and without merit: "The United States has made repeated false claims about its illegitimate political goals to endanger international peace and security." Damages owed by Iran and the other defedants will now be determined by a U.S. magistrate judge, although collection of any such damages is very uncertain.