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Cotton, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Support Victims of Iranian Terrorism

May 16, 2019

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

Washington, D.C.- U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Doug Jones (D-Alabama), Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada) today introduced legislation to help American terror victims and their families collect financial judgments against Iran. Representatives Greg Pence (R-Indiana) and Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. For full text of the bill, click here.

"Iran's terrorist puppets killed 241 Americans in the 1983 Marine Corps bombing, including 220 Marines. Our bill will help victims and their families obtain restitution for Iran's bloody crimes from money the regime has laundered," said Cotton.

"Our bipartisan bill would help deliver long-overdue justice for the victims of the Beirut bombing. The hundreds of Marine families who lost a loved one to Iranian state-sponsored terrorism have a right to restitution," said Whitehouse.

"More than thirty years after Iranian terrorists bombed the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, the United States Senate is sending a clear message of support to the victims' families as they rightfully fight for the opportunity to seize Iranian assets as restitution for the attack," said Rubio.

"Iran's efforts to harbor, train and fund terrorists intent on killing Americans played a central role in the horrific Beirut bombings that murdered 220 U.S. Marines and dozens of other personnel. The families who lost loved ones deserve restitution from the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism-and the courts have found they have that right. Passing this legislation expresses a sense of Congress that the United States has clear jurisdiction to seize certain assets that Iran laundered through American financial institutions to be used for their restitution and I look forward to its enactment into law," said Inhofe.

"Iran's Ayatollahs have the blood of thousands of Americans on their hands," said Cruz. "It's important that Congress do whatever we can to ensure that American victims of Iran's attacks and terrorism obtain the restitution they're entitled to."

"The families of the United States Marines and American personnel who lost loved ones in the tragic terrorist attack in Beirut have suffered enough. I have heard from a number of these family members in Alabama personally and I cannot imagine the heartache they continue to face as a result of this horrific attack. My hope is that our legislation would provide a small amount of comfort to those families by making it more likely they get the financial compensation they are entitled to, and to ensure that the Iranians continue to be held accountable for this senseless act of terror that its regime enabled," said Jones.

"The Iranian regime has a lengthy and despicable history of terrorizing Americans, dating back to the very beginning of this regime and its outrageous mistreatment of the American citizens who were held for 444 days during the 1979-80 hostage crisis. I condemn Iran's support for terrorism in the strongest terms and have long supported efforts to hold Iran accountable for atrocities committed against innocent Americans," said Isakson. "I'm proud to join Senator Cotton in introducing this legislation to help ensure the victims of the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut, and their families, receive compensation from Iran."

"This bipartisan legislation would do right by the victims and families who suffered from this horrific act of terrorism. By supporting this bipartisan legislation, I hope we can provide the families and victims of the 1983 Marine Barracks attack with restitution and long overdue justice," said Rosen.

"Terrorists, and those who support them financially, must be held accountable for the 1983 Marine Barracks attack that took the lives of 241 American service members, including 220 Marines. This legislation will help victims and their families obtain just a small amount of justice," said Pence.

"In 1983, 241 of our Marine Corps brothers and sisters were killed in Beirut by Iranian-backed terrorists. Their families deserve justice - not to be given the runaround by the Iranian government as they make elaborate attempts to dodge responsibility. Multiple courts have determined that the Iranian government should be held financially accountable for their actions and as a United States Marine, I'm proud to introduce this bill to enable these families to seek the restitution they deserve," said Gallego.

Background: In October 1983, an Iranian national drove a truck bomb into the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The devastating bombing killed 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 seek to enforce these judgments against a financial institution that launders money for the Iranian regime.

This legislation amends the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to allow the families of the Marine Barracks bombing victims to execute on $1.68 billion in Iranian funds currently held by Clearstream, a Luxembourg-based firm.