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US court mulls appropriation of Iran assets

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The US Supreme Court is mulling a case on appropriating $2 billion of Iranian assets.

The US Supreme Court is mulling a case on appropriating $2 billion of Iranian assets frozen in a bank in New York. 

Over 1,300 Americans are reportedly pressing the US government, judiciary and Congress to pay them billions of dollars in awarded damages over two bombings in Beirut and Saudi Arabia in 1983 and 1996.

Iran has dismissed any role in the attacks and rejected the US judicial system’s ruling to let the purported plaintiffs use Bank Markazi’s almost $2 billion held in Citibank accounts.

The case has reportedly moved to the Supreme Court, with the Obama administration urging it not to overturn the decisions of US circuit and appeals courts to award the plaintiffs.

The White House and US congressional Republicans and Democrats reportedly agree on the case.

In 2012, President Barack Obama issued an executive order blocking all of Bank Markazi’s assets held in the US in order to prevent Tehran from repatriating them.

At the same time, Congress passed a law which included a provision making it easier for the Americans to use Iranian funds frozen in the US.

Iran says the action was unconstitutional because Congress was encroaching on the power of the judiciary.

Iran’s Bank Markazi says the US Congress passed the law to change the outcome of the case. It has asked the US federal courts to decide whether that violates the constitutional separation of powers.

With the case moved to the US Supreme Court now, the outcome is set to affect a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the West.

Tehran is already disappointed by Obama’s signing of a Congress bill aimed at limiting tourist travels to Iran, saying it violates the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as the nuclear accord is called.

On Thursday, US media said each of the 53 hostages held during the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Tehran by Iranian students would receive compensation under a spending bill passed last Friday. 

The budget bill reportedly includes a provision authorizing each of the 53 hostages to receive $10,000 for each day of the 444 spell they were held captive.

In addition, spouses and children would separately receive a one-time payment of $600,000. Thirty-eight of the former hostages are still alive, US media said.