TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian court on Thursday ordered the U.S. government to pay more than $4 billion to the families of Iranian nuclear scientists killed in targeted attacks in recent years, state media reported.
The largely symbolic ruling highlights escalating tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, Talks to revive tattered atomic deal stalled.
While Tehran has in the past accused Israel of targeting Iranian nuclear scientists a decade ago, Iran did not directly blame its longtime foe Israel in the statement. Iran has not recognized Israel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution toppled the pro-Western monarchy and put Islamists in power.
The court referred to Israel only as saying that the U.S. supports “organized crime” by the “Zionist regime” against victims.
It’s unclear how the court’s decision will gain traction, as has been the case in a slew of previous Iranian cases against the United States, as threats from both sides escalate. There are no U.S. assets that can be confiscated in the Islamic Republic.
Still, the branch of the court that reviews Iran’s complaints against the U.S. has subpoenaed 37 former U.S. officials, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Iranian envoy Brian Hooker. and former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed tough economic sanctions on Iran, cutting off most of its oil revenue and international financial transactions.
President Joe Biden wants to return to the deal, but talks over the U.S. designation of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group have stalled in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, with less international oversight, Iran is enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels than ever before.Earlier this month, Iran dismantled 27 surveillance cameras from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency The “death blow” to the nuclear deal.
The families of three nuclear scientists killed in the targeted killing and one injured in the attack filed a lawsuit in Tehran, the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency reported, without naming the plaintiffs. The court ordered the United States to pay $4.3 billion in total damages, including fines.
Iran and Israel are locked in a shadow war spanning the Middle East and its waters. With the recent suspected targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists and officer. In late 2020, Iran accuses Israel Killed its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadehholding a remote-controlled machine gun as he traveled in a car outside Tehran.
Iran has also imposed sanctions on prominent U.S. political and military officials for alleged “terrorism” and “human rights violations” in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani two years ago.
Meanwhile, the Guard changed the head of its intelligence services on Thursday. Clergy Hossein Taeb will be succeeded by General Mohammad Kazemi, head of the security services of the former Guard.
The move comes after the deaths of several guard officers in recent weeks. Since Iran’s post-election turmoil in 2009, Teb has been known for his tough policies toward pro-reform figures.