US federal court rules Iran liable by default over terrorist attacks on US citizens News
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US federal court rules Iran liable by default over terrorist attacks on US citizens

The US District Court for the District of Columbia Tuesday granted partial default judgment against the Islamic Republic of Iran for failing to appear and defend itself against claims of aiding and abetting terrorists. The plaintiffs said that Iran provided “material support and resources to multiple terrorist organizations in Iraq and Afghanistan that perpetrated various attacks injuring them or their family members.” After Iran failed to appear in court, the court found that the plaintiffs established proper jurisdiction and proved that Iran committed assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. As a result, the plaintiffs are entitled to damages.

The plaintiffs, who include members of the US Army National Guard and their surviving family members, brought this action under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FISA), which grants foreign countries immunity in US courts. However, there is an exception that allows private citizens to seek relief for acts of terrorism.

In support of their case, the plaintiffs presented an expert military counterterrorism witness who examined 26 alleged attacks that took place between 2003 and 2013 to determine whether they were committed, supported, or organized by Iran. The expert looked at factors such as “where [the attack] took place, the time, the weapons system used, the complexity of the attack, and what group had primacy in the relevant region.” Based on this expert testimony, the court determined that plaintiffs provided ample evidence to support their claims that “Iran materially supported the terrorist groups” in 25 out of the 26 alleged attacks.

The plaintiffs may now petition the court to assess the damages they are owed.