An Iranian court has ordered the United States government, as well as several individuals and entities, to pay compensation for the 2017 attacks carried out by the armed group ISIL (ISIS). The court ruling, issued in the capital Tehran, was based on complaints by families of three people killed and six wounded during the June 2017 attacks on the building of the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of the founder of Iran’s current establishment, Ruhollah Khomeini. The court has ordered $9.95m to be paid to compensate for financial damages, while $104m and $199m are for moral and punitive damages, respectively, with the total nearing $313m.
Among those convicted in the case are former Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush, Central Command (CENTCOM), and its former commander Tommy Franks, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Treasury Department, weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, and American Airlines Group. None of the named entities or individuals is believed to hold any assets under Iranian control that could be seized, and the court did not say how the compensation order would be carried out.
The court ruling has been issued in response to comments made by American officials about the “fundamental” role played by the US in “organising and guiding terrorist groups”, news and information published by US media, and books and speeches by US officials discussing “the CIA’s role in creating terrorist groups”, including ISIL. The judiciary also acknowledged that the ruling comes as a response to numerous orders by US courts over the years that have blamed Iran for “terrorist” assaults and ordered compensation paid from seized Iranian assets.
The court’s decision is unlikely to have any practical effect, given that none of the named entities or individuals is believed to hold any assets under Iranian control that could be seized. However, it does represent a further deterioration in relations between Iran and the US. The two countries have been at odds since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which overthrew the US-backed Shah, and have been involved in a number of conflicts in the Middle East.
The US has accused Iran of supporting terrorist groups, including Hezbollah and Hamas, and has imposed a range of economic sanctions on the country. Iran, in turn, has accused the US of supporting terrorist groups operating within its borders, including the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), which was designated as a terrorist organisation by the US until 2012.
The court ruling is likely to be seen as a symbolic gesture by Iran, aimed at highlighting what it sees as the hypocrisy of the US in accusing other countries of supporting terrorism while itself being involved in the creation and support of such groups. However, it is unlikely to have any practical impact on US policy towards Iran, which is currently focused on trying to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons.
The US has been involved in a long-running dispute with Iran over its nuclear programme, which it claims is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying that its programme is for peaceful purposes only. The dispute has led to a range of economic sanctions being imposed on Iran by the US and other countries, and has raised tensions in the region.
The court ruling is likely to be seen as another example of Iran’s willingness to challenge the US and its allies in the region. However, it is unlikely to lead to any significant change in US policy towards Iran, which remains focused on preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons and supporting terrorist groups in the region.