U.S. Judge Orders Iran To Pay $10.5 Billion To 9/11 Victims And Insurers

JohnThomas Didymus - Author
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Jul. 14 2017, Updated 12:08 a.m. ET

A New York City judge has ordered the Islamic Republic of Iran to pay more than $10.5 billion in damages to the estates and families of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels issued a default judgment on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, ordering Iran to pay $7.5 billion to the estates and families of the people killed in the tragic 9/11 incident. The total of $7.5 billion includes $2 million to the estates of each of the victims for the pain and suffering endured by their relatives and $6.88 million in punitive damages, according to Bloomberg.

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Judge Daniels also ordered Iran to pay $3 billion to insurers, including Chubb Ltd., for losses incurred due to the payment of claims, such as property damages and business interruption, following the attacks.

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Daniels issued the default judgment after Iran failed to respond to the court summons to defend itself against allegations that the country was liable for damages because it helped the 9/11 terrorists.

Judge Daniels’ latest judgment comes after he cleared Saudi Arabia of liability to pay billions in damages to the families of the 9/11 victims last year. After attorneys representing Saudi Arabia argued in court that there was no evidence linking Riyadh to the attacks, Daniels ruled that Saudi Arabia had sovereign immunity and agreed that there was no evidence that Saudi Arabia provided “material support” to the al-Qaeda terrorists.

Meanwhile, a senior aide to Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Hossein Sheikholeslam, has commented on the latest ruling.

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Describing the decision as “absurd and ridiculous,” he told Sputnik News, “I never heard about this ruling and I’m very much surprised because the judge had no reason whatsoever to issue such a ruling.”

“Iran never took part in any court hearings related to the events of September 11, 2001,” he continued. “Even if such an absurd and ridiculous decision has been made, the charges simply hold no water because Iran has never been mentioned at any stage of the investigation and the trials that followed.”

He also pointed out that because the attackers were Saudi citizens and people who had lived or studied in Saudi Arabia, the main suspect in investigations was always Saudi Arabia, not Iran.

“All this looks like another evil joke by the Americans,” Sheikholeslam concluded.

But legal experts have explained that the ruling is an example of what is termed a default ruling. A judge may issue a default ruling when one of the parties in a case refuses to respond to a court summons.

In this case, the judge issued a default ruling because Iran ignored the summons to defend itself against claims that it aided the 9/11 attackers.

But Iran ignored court summons because the lawsuit was entirely baseless, according to Sheikholeslam. He pointed out that none of the attackers were Iranians and that there was no reasonable evidence that Iran was involved in the attacks.

According to reports, 15 of the 19 terrorists who staged the 9/11 attacks were Saudi citizens: two were citizens of the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and the last from Lebanon.

However, some U.S. investigators allege that Tehran may have been involved in the attacks despite President George W. Bush’s assertion that there was “no direct connection between Iran and 9/11.”

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