U.S. Citizens Bring Suit against Iran for 1983 Beirut Bombing of U.S. Embassy

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Wednesday, May 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
On March 2, 2002, victims, including Anne Dammarell, a former employee of the U.S. Agency for International Development who was seriously injured in a 1983 Beirut bombing of the U.S. embassy, filed a five billion dollar lawsuit against Iran, accusing the Iranian Government of sponsoring the attack. The suit alleges that Iran provided material support and resources to the terrorist group Hizbollah, blamed for the truck bombing that killed 17 U.S. citizens, 63 Lebanese, and injured more than 100. A problem has been locating assets to fulfill such judgments. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act makes property of a foreign state in the U.S. immune form attachment or execution. The U.S. Government has contended that no exception exists to the limitations applied in cases where efforts had been made to attach Iranian property prior to enactment of new legislation providing for payment by the U.S. Furthermore, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act often regulates assets of countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism, precluding their attachment.