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Iran Lawmakers Back Bill Seeking Compensation From U.S. For 'Damages'

  • RFE/RL

Iran lawmakers vote during a parliamentary session in Tehran in June. (file photo)

Iran lawmakers vote during a parliamentary session in Tehran in June. (file photo)

More than 160 Iranian lawmakers have signed a draft bill demanding compensation from the United States for "damages" it has allegedly "inflicted on Iran."

The legislation calls on the Iranian government to take measures to obtain compensation from the United States for its alleged role in 11 cases, including the 1953 coup orchestrated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that restored monarch Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's regime.

The bill also calls for compensation for "more than 223,000 Iranians [killed] and 600,000 injured" in the 1980-1988 war with Iraq "due to intelligence, political, and military cooperation" with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

It also seeks damages over the death of several hundreds of Iranians in clashes between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi forces in Mecca in 1987, and in the Hajj stampede in October "due to America's support for the Saudi government."

Ahmad Shohani, a member of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, called the legislation a reaction to the United States' "hostile policies," including the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists, which the bill claims were conducted with "America's assistance."

A total of 166 lawmakers have signed the bill, "and the number of signatories is increasing," Shohani said.

He added that it will be submitted to the parliament after the gathering of signatures has been completed.

U.S. Compensation For Hostages

The move comes a week after the U.S. Congress passed a law authorizing financial compensation to former U.S. hostages that were held in Iran for 444 days after the 1979 revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed Shah.

The law authorizes payments of up to $10,000 per day of captivity for each of the 53 hostages, 37 of whom are still alive.

The sum will reportedly come from a $9 billion penalty paid by the French bank BNP Paribas for violating sanctions against Iran, Cuba, and Sudan.

Victims of other state-sponsored terrorist attacks would also be eligible for benefits under the law.

Iran's English-language PressTV suggested that the Iranian parliament's bill is also a response to "recent measures taken in the U.S. to appropriate Iranian assets frozen in bank accounts in the country."

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider a case in which victims of terrorist attacks that the U.S. government has linked to Iran are seeking to recover U.S.-based assets of Iran's central bank as compensation.

These attacks include the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian central bank's U.S. assets were frozen in 2012 following an executive order by President Barack Obama.

The speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani, warned on December 28 that Tehran will respond to a possible decision to confiscate its frozen assets.

"The American government's move to lay hands on Iran's blocked assets amounts to theft, and we are working to answer it," Iranian media quoted Larijani as saying.

With reporting by Fars, PressTV, and Bloomberg
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