Tehran Court Assigned to Hear Anti-US Suits
The Iranian judicial branch has assigned a Tehran court of common pleas to handle lawsuits against the United States, whose courts have ruled against Iran seven times in recent years, a press report said Wednesday, cited by the official Iranian news agency, IRNA.
The daily, Jomhouri-e Eslami, quoted the judiciary spokesman Hossein Mir-Mohammad-Sadeqi as saying "Iranians can file complaints when foreign countries have broken international conventions, causing [harm] to Iranian nationals."
He was referring to the 1953 US-backed coup, which toppled the government of prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq.
"Bench 3 of Tehran's court of common pleas is ready to receive such lawsuits," the daily quoted him as saying. Sadeqi stressed that foreign governments would be held liable for compensation for "causing damage to Iranian nationals."
The move comes after former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday called on the powerful judiciary to put into effect a parliamentary bill allowing Iranian victims of US intervention to "sue the United States for damages."
Last November, the reformist-majority Iranian Parliament voted unanimously to allow courts to impose punitive damages on the United States for "terrorist" acts, said IRNA.
The move came after the US government agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to victims of what Washington calls Iranian "state-sponsored terrorism."
"I am surprised that Iran is staying put and does nothing vis-a-vis the US baseless allegations? The Americans routinely form tribunals against Iran under unfounded pretexts to pickpocket millions of dollars from the latter's (frozen) assets," Rafsanjani told thousands of worshipers attending the weekly Muslim Friday prayers at the compounds of Tehran University.
In a latest case, a US federal judge has ordered Iran to pay damages to 70-year-old university professor Thomas Sutherland, in the seventh such case against Iran.
The families of the four Iranian diplomats kidnapped in Lebanon 19 years ago should "file a lawsuit against the United States," said Rafsanjani.
The four Iranians were kidnapped following Israel's invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 by Lebanese Christian militiamen.
Tehran and Washington severed ties in 1979 after Iranian students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and took over 50 staffers hostage for 444 days.
Iran has made talks with the US conditional on an end to the sanctions and the unfreezing of some $10 billion of its assets held in US banks since November 1980 – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)