WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A law center which represents American families of terror victims who hold unsatisfied U.S. court judgments against Iran for its support of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, today released a letter to U.S. Congressmen alleging that the Obama Administration kept secret the details of $1.7 billion in cash payments to Tehran in January in order to evade terror victims' efforts to have those funds applied to satisfy terror victims' outstanding court awards. American terror victims have managed to seize Iranian bank accounts in the past.
The letter was sent by attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv and Robert Tolchin of New York of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center.
On January 17, 2016, President Obama announced the settlement of a legal dispute between the United States and Iran over $400 million held by the U.S. in a Foreign Military Sales ("FMS") program account since 1979. Obama agreed to pay the $400 million owed to Iran, plus payment of an additional $1.3 million in interest. In recent weeks, the $1.7 billion has come under severe scrutiny because the timing and circumstances of the payments appear to confirm the Iranian claim that the White House agreed to pay the money as ransom for the release of American hostages.
However, in light of the recent revelations in a Congressional subcommittee hearing held on Thursday, September 8, 2016, Shurat HaDin is asserting that "it is now clear that the Administration has deliberately kept numerous payments to Iran secret in order to shield Iran from having to forfeit those funds to pay terror victims amounts Iran owes under outstanding U.S. judgments."
The letter asserts that under legislation passed in 2000, the U.S. was legally entitled to apply the $400 million in the FSM account to satisfy terror victims' judgments, eliminating the $400 million balance and nearly 16 years of interest claimed by Iran.
Shurat HaDin's letter cites the suspicious revelation at the Congressional hearing that the U.S. and Iran did not draft a written settlement agreement or any other formal documentation of the cash transfers, and that Iran specifically directed the Iran-U.S. Tribunal at the Hague, where the claim was to be resolved through arbitration, that it should not record the settlement of the claim for the parties. Shurat HaDin contends that terror-victims with judgments against Iran could have legally "attached" any judgment affirming the settlement or award, so that the amount could be applied to satisfy their terror-compensation judgments.
Shurat HaDin's President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner stated: "We believe that the secrecy in which these cash payments were made were part of an effort by the White House to conceal these payments from the terror victims and to hide the fact that it was effectively canceling Iran's debt for its terror-related activity. This is a horrible fraud on the terror victims. It appears the transfers were specifically done as an end run around the abilities of the families to attach the money and enforce their federal court judgments. Instead, the Administration went to great lengths to ensure that the $1.7 billion payment was shrouded in secrecy, never reduced to writing nor even recorded with the Hague, and was paid to Iran in cash as quickly and directly as possible."
Shurat HaDin urged the Congressmen to "take action to guarantee that further payments do not take place until it has paid every judgment it owes to American victims of terror."
For a copy of Shurat HaDin's letter to Congress, please contact:
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SOURCE Shurat HaDin