Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Families of Terror Victims File Lawsuit in Attempt to Prevent Biden’s Iran Prisoner Deal

The families of Iranian terror victim are suing to block the Biden administration from releasing $40 billion in frozen Iranian funds held in foreign bank accounts under a proposed prisoner release deal.

Families of American victims of Iranian terrorism hold more than $400 million in court judgments against the Islamic Republic of Iran for its sponsorship of terror groups involved in attacks and are opposed to President Joe Biden’s administration working to release five prisoners.

The victim’s family lawsuits argue the release of Iranian funds from sanctioned foreign accounts would preclude them from collecting on the $400 million in court judgments that are owed.

“It would be outrageous to release the $40 billion in frozen Iranian funds when these American families have unpaid court judgments against the terror sponsoring regime in Tehran handed down by American courts,” attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote in a statement.

“For more than a decade Iran has refused to pay these court judgments and has thumbed its nose at these terror-victim families and the U.S. court system. The billions in frozen funds is the last leverage the families have to compel Iran to satisfy their judgments.

“If you release these funds you erase all hope for the families of ever getting a measure of justice against this outlaw regime.”

Darshan-Leitner warned the Biden administration’s proposed prisoner-release deal “would make a farce out of this hard fought legal process.”

She added, “The U.S. encouraged these families, grievously harmed by terrorism, to file lawsuits against Iran and now the government has a moral duty to assist them in collecting on their judgments,

“To release the funds to terrorist Tehran instead of turning them over to the victims would make a farce out of this hard fought legal process.”

Those targeted in the lawsuit include the State Department and Treasury Department, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.

The families’ judgments stem from suicide bombings, stabbings, car ramming attacks, and drive-by shootings, committed from 2001-2016 by Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestine Islamic Jihad, which are all among Iran’s terrorist proxies.

“We all want the five suffering American captives being cruelly held as bargaining chips by Iran to be released as quickly as possible, but the burden of any deal with Iran to secure the release of the hostages, however wise or unwise the deal, needs to rest on the nation as a whole, not solely on a small group of victims of Iranian terror who have already suffered so much,” attorney Robert J. Tolchin wrote in a statement.

“If ransom money is being transferred to Iran to secure the release of certain victims of the Iranian regime being held hostage there, that money should not be taken away from other victims of Iran’s atrocities. Leave this money for the victims, which is what Congress intended when it enacted legislation to allow terror victims to enforce their judgments against blocked assets of state sponsors of terrorism.”

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016, starting on the first night of the Republican National Convention. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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