An American judge ruled on Tuesday that Iran must pay $6 billion to victims or those affected by the 9/11 terror attacks.
Judge George B. Daniels of the Southern District Court of New York ruled that “the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and The Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran liable for the deaths of more than 1,000 people as a result of the September 11 attacks.”
Court filings state that the payout equates to “$12,500,000 per spouse, $8,500,000 per parent, $8,500,000 per child, and $4,250,000 per sibling” to the families and estates of the deceased. The ruling also includes an annual 4.1 percent interest rate from the year the attacks took place.
Thomas Burnett Sr. filed the lawsuit in 2004, but it was only allowed to proceed in 2016 after Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) allowing individual citizens to file lawsuits against countries accused of financing terrorism.
“In December 2011, a New York federal court held a hearing and found that the evidence presented established that Iran’s provision of material support to al-Qaeda was a cause of the 9/11 attacks and the resulting damage, injuries, and deaths,” said prosecutor Robert Haefele in court.
“It is difficult for those injured or left behind to ignore the findings of the federal court about Iran’s culpability,” he continued. “But those findings should not overshadow the mountain of evidence presented against Saudi Arabia, which remains central to the plaintiffs’ case.”
Iran’s involvement in the attacks has been a source of contention. The lawsuit alleges that Iranian officials supported the plane hijackers with training and other forms of assistance.
The 9/11 commission report, published in 2004, found no direct evidence of Iranian involvement but acknowledged that some of the hijackers traveled through Iran without passport stamps before flying on to Afghanistan for training.
Iran remains one of the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism, providing large amounts of funding to Islamist terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah.
Similar lawsuits have also been brought against Saudi Arabia. A federal judge last month rejected attempts by the Saudi Arabian government to dismiss a lawsuit accusing them of financing Al-Qaeda and sponsoring the 9/11 attacks.
The lawsuit, filed last September on behalf of 1,400 victims and their families, also demands that Saudi Arabia pay billions of dollars in damages for their involvement.
However, any ruling remains merely symbolic, with neither country like to pay given their vehement denial any involvement.
The attacks, which took place September 11, 2001, remain the largest and most significant terrorist attack in American history, killing 2,996 people and injuring over 6,000 others.