A federal judge on Wednesday awarded [opinion, PDF] $44.6 million from Iran to two US marines and their families as a result of injuries sustained in the 1983 suicide-truck bombing on American barracks in Beirut, Lebanon [BBC backgrounder]. Relying on the findings of fact from Peterson v. Islamic Republic of Iran (Peterson II) [opinion, PDF], Judge Royce Lamberth, Chief Judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website], found that marines Jeffrey Paul O'Brien and Daniel Lane Gaffney had already proven that Iran's acts of extrajudicial killing and support for such killing were intended to cause their injuries, thus they were entitled to collect damages under the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act [text], 28 USC § 1605A(c), for solatium and pain and suffering. In his conclusion, Lamberth reasoned:
[T]he Court applauds plaintiffs' persistent efforts to hold Iran accountable for its cowardly support of terrorism. The Court concludes that defendant Iran must be punished to the fullest extent legally possible for the bombing in Beirut on October 23, 1983. This horrific act impacted countless individuals and their families, a number of whom receive awards in this lawsuit. This Court hopes that the victims and their families may find some measure of solace from this Court's final judgment.Collection of the award may be difficult, though plaintiffs' attorney Joseph Peter Drennan is hopeful that judgment will be enforced [AP report] against blocked Iranian assets in the US.
In September 2007 Iran dismissed a ruling made by Lamberth only two days earlier that required Iran to compensate [JURIST reports] the families of 241 US military personnel killed in the 1983 bombing of US Marine barracks in Beirut. There, Iran called the $2.65 billion US ruling "baseless" and "politically motivated," as it was the largest judgment ever awarded by a US court against a foreign country. While Iran has consistently been accused of supporting Hezbollah [CFR backgrounder], the militant group behind the bombing, the Islamic Republic has denied responsibility. The American death toll in the 1983 terror attack was the highest on record prior to the 9/11 [JURIST backgrounder].