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The Islamic Republic of Iran must pay $126 million to 29 victims of the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, a federal judge ruled last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In his 94-page opinion, Judge John Bates cited evidence that proved Iran provided arms and financial support to Hezbollah, the terrorist organization blamed for the bombing that killed 63 people, including 17 U.S. citizens, and injured more than 100. In his ruling, Bates went on to say, “This case has been in the vanguard of mass-tort lawsuits brought by victims of terrorism against foreign states.” Because the case was so large, the plaintiffs were divided into two groups; Magistrate Judge John Facciola now will rule on the remaining claims. “We are pleased that the court has again recognized Iran to be at the center of this heinous act of terrorism and that Iran will be called to account for its actions,” Michael Martinez, a partner with Crowell & Moring, said in a statement issued after the Dec. 15 ruling. Iran never responded to the civil action, which was filed in 2001. Crowell & Moring is representing 83 victims and relatives of victims in the lawsuit, which was made possible by 1996 amendments to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that permit claims against foreign states that commit acts of terrorism or provide material to support terrorists.
Sarah Kelley can be contacted at [email protected].

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