Washington Free Beacon

Congress Applauds Supreme Court Ruling Iran Must Pay Terror Victims

Capitol dome reflects between the buses outside of the Rayburn House Office Building / AP

Members of Congress overwhelmingly praised the Supreme Court on Wednesday after it issued a ruling ordering Iran to pay the families of U.S. terror victims more than $2 billion in recently unfrozen assets.

The Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, ruled in a precedent-setting terrorism case that Iran’s Central Bank can be held liable for American court rulings finding the Islamic Republic responsible for the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps compound in Beirut.

The court has ordered that Iran must turn over assets being held in a New York-based account to be paid out to some 1,000 American victims who sued the Islamic Republic for the bombing.

Lawmakers celebrated the decision Wednesday afternoon.

"The Supreme Court’s decision today brings the families of Marine Sergeant Johnny Phillips of Wilmette, Ill., and other U.S. victims of Iranian terrorism closer to a measure of relief and justice that has been denied to them for far too long," Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) told the Washington Free Beacon. " Sergeant Phillips, whom I went to church with, was one of the 241 Americans killed when Iran-backed terrorists bombed the Beirut Marine Barracks on October 24, 1983.  Every dollar we take away from the regime in Tehran is one less dollar Iran’s mullahs can use to support international terrorism."

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) also praised the decision as a victory for terror victims.

"Though no amount of restitution will bring back their loved ones, I hope today’s ruling will send a clear message to the Mullahs: Iran may do business with the United States or it may sponsor radical Islamic terrorism—but it may not do both," Roskam told the Free Beacon in a statement.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) said that the ruling affirms Iran’s continued role in global acts of terrorism.

"While this is a momentous occasion for the more than 1,300 Americans who have been victims of Iranian terror, it also serves as a stark reminder of the continued threat Iran poses, not just to the U.S., but to the world," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement. "The same post-revolutionary regime that ordered the attacks against American service members in the past is the very same regime still sitting in power in Tehran. It’s the same regime that’s responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. service member deaths in Iraq, the same regime that was responsible for terror attacks like the AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires, and the same regime that has stated on countless occasions it seeks to wipe the democratic Jewish State of Israel off the map."

Rep. Patrick Meehan (R., Pa.), who authored a bill last year that would have prevented the Obama administration from lifting sanction on Iran until it pays American terror victims, called the court’s decision long overdue.

"This decision is good news for the victims of Iran’s sordid history of support for terrorism. The court’s decision today will help more than 1,300 victims of terror attacks like the 1983 bombing of our Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia recover some $1.75 billion in damages they’ve been awarded by federal court," Meehan said. "No dollar amount can undo the pain and suffering of the victims and their families. But today’s decision paves the way for some measure of justice."