US District Judge George Daniels in New York on Wednesday issued a default judgment against Iran for $7.5 billion that will go to the estates and families of World Trade Center and Pentagon Victims, and $3 billion to insurers including Chubb Ltd. that paid property damage, business interruption and other claims for the 9/11 losses, Bloomberg reported.
The payments to families and estates include $2 million to each estate for the victims’ pain and suffering as well as $6.88 million in punitive damages.
The judge said that Iran had given active support to the terrorists who brought down the towers and killed close to 3,000 Americans in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania. He also found that Iran had failed to defend claims that it aided the September 11 hijackers and was therefore liable for damages tied to the attacks.
Iran is probably not going to pay the judgment, ever. Hossein Sheikholeslam, a senior aide to Iran’s parliamentary speaker, told Sputnik, “I never heard about this ruling and I’m very much surprised because the judge had no reason whatsoever to issue such a ruling… Iran never took part in any court hearings related to the events of September 11, 2001. Even if such an absurd and ridiculous decision has been made, the charges simply hold no water because Iran has never been mentioned at any stage of the investigation and the trials that followed.”
But even though it is difficult to collect damages from any uncooperative foreign nation, much less from Iran, the plaintiffs could try to collect at least part of the judgments via a law that lets parties to tap terrorists’ assets frozen by the government.