Iran court orders US to pay US$50b for Soleimani assassination

Iran court orders US to pay US$50b for Soleimani assassination
Iran court orders US to pay US$50b for Soleimani assassination

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A man lifts a placard depicting slain Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani (left) and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as fighters bearing flags of Iraq and paramilitary groups, including al-Nujaba and Kataib Hezbollah, march during a funeral in Baghdad for five militants killed a day earlier in a US strike in northern Iraq December 4, 2023. — AFP pic

TEHRAN, Dec 6 — A Tehran court has ordered the US government to pay nearly US$50 billion (RM233 billion) in damages for assassinating a top Iranian general nearly four years ago, the judiciary said today.

Then-US president Donald ordered a drone strike near Baghdad airport that killed General Qasem Soleimani, 62, and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on January 3, 2020.

Days later, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at bases in Iraq housing American and other coalition troops. No US personnel were killed but Washington said dozens suffered traumatic brain injuries.

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The Iranian judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency said that a Tehran court had sentenced the US government to pay US$49.7 billion in “material, moral and punitive damages” after a lawsuit filed by more than 3,300 Iranians.

The court found 42 individuals and legal persons guilty, including Trump, the US government, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former defence secretary Mark Esper, Mizan added.

Soleimani commanded the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

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He was one of the country’s most popular public figures who spearheaded Iran’s Middle East operations and was seen as a hero of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Iranian courts have now handed down several rulings against the United States.

Last month, an Iranian court ordered the US government to pay US$420 million in compensation to victims of an abortive 1980 operation to free hostages held at the US embassy.

In August, a Tehran court demanded Washington pay US$330 million in damages for “planning a coup” in 1980 against the fledgling Islamic republic.

Those suits follow a series of multi-billion-dollar compensation rulings against Tehran by US courts.

In 2016, the US Supreme Court ordered that Iranian assets frozen in the United States should be paid to victims of attacks Washington has blamed on Tehran, including the 1983 bombing of a US Marine barracks in Beirut and a 1996 blast in Saudi Arabia.

Tehran denies all responsibility for the attacks.

It has appealed to international justice to help unlock funds of several Iranian individuals and companies that have been frozen by Washington.

In March the International Court of Justice ruled that Washington’s freezing of funds was “manifestly unreasonable”.

But it ruled it had no jurisdiction to unblock nearly US$2 billion in Iranian central bank assets frozen by the United States.

Iran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations since the aftermath of the 1979 revolution. — AFP

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