Iranian Assets to be Handed Over to Families of 9/11 Attack Victims

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An English court is considering the possibility of allowing families of the victims of 9/11 Al-Qaeda attack on the United States to make a claim on
Iranian assets in Britain.

The next of kin of the victims have requested the English High Court to enforce a 2012 decision by a U.S. court which discovered evidence proving that Iran provided “material support and resources to al Qaeda for acts of
terrorism”.

The New York court had awarded the plaintiffs damages of over seven billion dollars even though Iran denies any links to Al Qaeda or any involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Iranian assets in England and Wales could be frozen or seized if the English court decides to honour the ruling of the US court.

Iranian assets in England include a central London building and funds held by two subsidiaries of state-owned banks.

The obstacle holding up the process of honouring the decision of the US court was removed after a hearing in an English court on the 8th of June.

The law requires the UK’s Foreign Office (FCO) to formally serve the legal papers to Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) before the enforcement proceedings can begin.

The Foreign office reports that it found it routinely difficult to deliver the papers to Ministry of foreign affairs; they declined to speak further on the matter.

The then judge ruled that it was sufficient to try to notify them through other means of communication such as email or post; this ruling unblocked the process.

The plaintiffs will now ask a judge at the High Court in the next few months to consider whether the New York ruling can be entered as a judgment in English law, said their lawyer Natasha Harrison, a partner at the London office of Boies Schiller Flexner.

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Responding to the news an Iranian official said Iran would do all it can within its power to stop the process from happening.

He said the June ruling was fabricated and politically motivated and such allegations against Iran were aimed at diverting attention from regional countries that were involved
in the 9/11 attacks.

The official claimed further that Iran is also a victim of terrorism and the country has always fought against terrorism.

The plaintiffs began trying to enforce the New York judgment in England in 2015 and have already gotten court support in Luxembourg where 1.6 billion dollars worth of Iranian assets lie frozen.

This could add to Tehran’s troubles as it tries to stave off a financial crisis after the United States reinstated economic sanctions against Iran as it pulled out of a nuclear agreement entered into with Iran as well as other World powers.

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