A lawsuit by relatives of 9/11 [JURIST news archive] victims has alleged that Iran knowingly aided [press release] al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] in carrying out the attacks, according to affidavits [memo of law, PDF] filed Thursday. Included in the affidavits, but under seal from the judge, are the testimonies of Iranian defectors who worked for Iran's intelligence service, declaring that Iran helped plan the attacks through Hezbollah [BBC Backgrounder], as well as facilitated the escapes of al Qaeda operatives after the attack. The affidavits also include depositions of 9/11 Commission workers who believe Iran helped to orchestrate the account:
Havlish experts specifically conclude that the evidence is clear and convincing that Iran materially supported al Qaeda. Although each of the Havlish experts' affidavits speaks for itself, two passages fairly summarize their views: It is our expert opinion to a reasonable degree of professional certainty that the Iranian Regime's use of terror and, specifically, its material support of al Qaeda in multiple terrorist attacks, including 9/11, is beyond question.The initial suit [text, PDF], Havlish v. Bin Laden [materials] was filed in 2002. Plaintiffs seek a default judgment since Iran has not mounted a defense, and $100 billion in damages, but have stated that their principal focus is the US admitting Iran's involvement and mounting further investigations to that effect.
Previous attempts to indict other nations in the 9/11 attacks through litigation have failed. Two years ago, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] brought by survivors of the 9/11 attacks against the nation of Saudi Arabia and four of its princes, ruling that the defendants were protected from prosecution under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 [text]. The appeals court upheld a 2005 ruling [JURIST report] by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs in that case were suing more than 200 defendants who allegedly helped fund and support Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda. Casey allowed a claim to proceed against the Saudi Binladen Group [corporate website], the successor to a construction company founded by Bin Laden's father, because additional discovery is necessary to determine whether the company "purposefully directed its activities at the United States." This is the first such suit against Iran.