A United States federal judge in NY has ordered Iran to pay about US$6 billion to victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in Manhattan, despite a lack of evidence that Iran had anything to do with them. (Picture: Justice Integrity Project) The country was ordered to pay $8.5 million (£6.25 million) for each parent, $12.5 million (£9 million) for each spouse, $8.5 million per child and $4.25million (£3 million) per sibling. A 4.96 percent annual interest rate dating from 2001 will also be added.
He said: '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.
But the main alleged state actor that the plaintiffs are aiming at is the country most of the terrorists came from, and where al-Qaeda got its start - Saudi Arabia.
The hijackers crashed commercial airliners into the World Trade Center in NY and the Pentagon in Washington.
The 9/11 Commission - the organization tasked to investigate the attacks - has said there is no evidence indicating direct Iranian involvement. Last month, Judge Daniels rejected an attempt by Riyadh to have that related lawsuit tossed out, and the court victory in this more tenuous case is therefore very encouraging for those who want to see the Sunni Arab state take responsibility for the largest single terror attack in history.
Iran's involvement in the attacks has been a source of contention.
Iran is not expected to pay the damages - the Islamic Republic never responded to the lawsuit, but the ruling makes the families eligible to collect from a small fund of seized Iranian assets which were used in the past to compensate families of victims of Hezbollah attacks. Nonetheless, the largely symbolic judgment still carries significant meaning as it could have massive implications as a precedent for similar lawsuits against tyrannical regimes.
A default judgement is issued when a defendant does not contest the case in court. Following this decision, Iranian state television quoted an unnamed official as commenting, "This judgment is so ridiculous...more than ever before, it damages the credibility of the US judicial system".