Israeli rights group Shurat HaDin Law Center [official website] and two dozen Americans filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Wednesday in an attempt to block the Obama administration from releasing an estimated $100 billion in frozen Iranian funds. The plaintiffs hold existing judgments against the country and claim [press release] that releasing the frozen funds will “prevent them from ever collecting on their judgments and deprive them of the only leverage they have to make Iran pay.” The case follows the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Tehran which was unanimously approved [JURIST report] by the UN Security Council [official website] in late July. Under the agreement, some economic sanctions were lifted in exchange for the country reducing its nuclear program and allowing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [official website] inspections.
This nuclear agreement was reached after the 20-month negotiations continued through several deadlines [JURIST reports] in hopes of progress. Over the past several years Iran has been subject to numerous sanctions for its contentious nuclear program. Iranian leaders have repeatedly claimed [JURIST report] that the developing nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the international community, Israel in particular, worries that Iran’s enrichment program was designed for military purposes. The US and France agreed [JURIST report] in March to strengthen nuclear talks with Iran to persuade the nation to restrain its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions and in April Iran agreed [JURIST report] to a framework deal to restrict its nuclear plan.