American terror victims to collect $9.4 million from Iran

In a landmark victory after years of litigation, U.S. victims of Iranian state-sponsored terror attacks have won the right to collect $9.4 million from a long-frozen asset in California belonging to the Iranian regime.

The case, known as Ministry of Defense v. Frym, involves several groups of plaintiffs, including the daughter of former Iranian Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar, who was murdered by an Iranian hit team in his residence in France in 1991, and the Rubin plaintiffs, who sued Iran following a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

Adam Kredo of the Free Beacon commented:

The case is also being viewed as a potential shot at Obama administration efforts to rebuild diplomatic ties with Tehran. The administration has given Iran more than $150 billion in economic sanctions relief despite efforts by U.S. lawmakers to block the release until Iran pays U.S. victims of terrorism.

The $9.4 million stems from a pre-revolution contract between the Iranian Defense Ministry and Cubic Systems in California. I first identified the Cubic Systems contract on behalf of another group of plaintiffs in 1997, but they and other subsequent claimants lost their turnover cases on appeal.

Since those cases, the federal laws governing foreign sovereign immunity and the ability of terror victims to sue state sponsors of terrorism have been strengthened significantly in favor of the victims.

Last week’s decision by the Ninth Circuit found that:

the Algiers Accords, by which the United States and Iran resolved the Iranian Hostage Crisis, did not prevent the lien claimants from attaching the Cubic Judgment.

The Free Beacon has posted the full decision here.