Top court gives Iran cash to US victims

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The US Supreme Court is allowing the families of victims of a 1983 bombing in Beirut and other terror attacks to collect nearly $2bn (£1.4bn) in frozen Iranian assets.

The court ruled in favour of more than 1,300 relatives of the 241 US service members killed in Beirut and elsewhere.

Iran’s central bank tried to defy court orders demanding payment for losses.

Bank Markazi in Iran opposed a law that directs its US assets be turned over to the families.

Congress has changed the law allowing victims to sue over so-called state-sponsored terrorism many times in the past 20 years, and Iran has not co-operated.

The law was last changed in 2012.

On 23 October 1983, bombs killed 241 US Service members and 58 French paratroopers in Beirut who were backing the Lebanese Armed Forces.

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More than 200 Marines were killed

The next year, the US withdrew nearly all its troops from Lebanon.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the court rejecting Iran’s efforts to avoid the payments.

The law “does not transgress restraints placed on Congress and the president by the Constitution”, she wrote.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, arguing that the 2012 law passed by Congress was an overreach.

More than 1,300 people will receive the money, relatives of victims of the Beirut bombings, a 1996 terrorist bombing in Saudi Arabia and other attacks. The lead plaintiff is the sister of a US Marine killed in Beirut.

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