New York- A civil suit filed by two insurance companies and hundreds of families of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks has ended in a multibillion dollar judgment against the government of Iran.
In a prior case which concluded in December 2011, Judge George Daniels of the Southern District of New York ruled that senior officials of Iran and its proxy Hezbollah — including Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — had materially and directly supported Al-Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks, and were responsible to pay billions in damages to compensate the victims. This month’s verdict in a related case is a summary judgment, augmenting the judgment and damages on the basis of the same evidence.
Asharq Al-Awsat has published six excerpts from court testimony, deemed factual by the judge, detailing aspects of Iran’s role in the terror plot, which brought down New York’s World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, and led to the downing of a plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing thousands. As Judge Daniels stated in his ruling, “The Islamic Republic of Iran provided material support or resources … to Al-Qaeda generally. Such material support or resources took the form of, inter alia, planning, funding, facilitation of the hijackers’ travel and training, and logistics, and included the provision of services, money, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, and/or transportation.”
Court documents assert that the Iranian government, Hezbollah, and Al-Qaeda formally declared an alliance in Khartoum in 1993, and Bin Laden and his cohorts subsequently received training and other assistance from Iran, which enabled Al-Qaeda to implement a series of terror attacks prior to September 11. Imad Mughniyeh, a prominent Hezbollah operative later assassinated by Israel in 2008, visited the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks in October 2000 and facilitated their travel to the United States via Iran. The Tehran regime saw to it that the hijackers’ passports were not stamped in transit. In addition to Khamenei and Mughniyeh, the judgment also finds former Iranian intelligence Ali Fallahian and Brigadier General Mohammed Baqir Dhu ‘ll-Qader, deputy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
According to attorneys on the plaintiff’s committee, the ultimate judgment will be in excess of $21 billion, and would entitle plaintiffs to claim frozen Iranian assets as part of the settlement — though the value of frozen assets accessible to an American court does not reach the demanded sum.
In addition to Iranian leadership figures and the state itself, the judgment also names the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, the IRGC, and its special operations division, the Quds Force.