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Senators Urge Administration to Support Victims of Iranian Terror Attacks

April 26, 2019

Contact Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C. - Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr and Solicitor General Noel Francisco urging them to support the victims of Iranian terror attacks in the case of Clearstream Banking S.A. v. Peterson. This case presents the administration with an opportunity to assist the Marine families who lost loved ones in the Beirut barracks bombing in 1983. These victims deserve restitution from a leading state sponsor of terror.

The full text of the letter can be found below or by clicking here.

The Honorable William Barr Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530

The Honorable Noel Francisco Solicitor General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Barr and Solicitor General Francisco,

We write to urge you to support the victims of Iranian terror attacks in the case of Clearstream Banking S.A. v. Peterson.

In October 1983, Iranian terrorists bombed the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. President Reagan had stationed U.S. Marines in Lebanon as part of a multinational peacekeeping force. An Iranian national drove a truck bomb into the compound, killing 220 Marines and dozens of other personnel. The attack was perpetrated by Hezbollah, a terror group founded, trained, and financially supported by the Iranian regime. Since the attack, the victims' families have won a number of court judgments authorizing the seizure of Iranian funds as restitution for the attack. Currently, these families are seeking to enforce these judgments against Clearstream S.A., a financial institution that continues to launder money for the Iranian regime.

In October 2018, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the U.S. government's views on whether Iran should be able to protect its assets from these Marine families. Congress unanimously passed the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, 22 U.S.C. § 8772, and members of Congress filed two amicus briefs supporting the victims of the Beirut bombing in related litigation, see Bank Markazi v. Peterson, 136 S.Ct. 1310 (2016), making clear that Congress strongly supports the ability of the terror victims and their families to recover on their judgments against Iran. This case presents your Administration with an opportunity to assist these victims, including our constituents, in claiming restitution from the world's leading state sponsor of terror.

We believe that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled correctly that U.S. courts can oblige banks to bring funds they hold for state sponsors of terror outside the United States to New York in compliance with judgments against those foreign governments. Therefore, we urge the Administration to oppose Iran' s request for certiorari before the Supreme Court.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.