Former Iranian President Demands Obama Return Money Paid To US Terror Victims

REUTERS/Caren Firouz

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s former hard-line president, has demanded the U.S. return $2 billion of Iranian assets designated for U.S. victims of terrorism.

Ahmadinejad made his demand through a letter to President Barack Obama released to the public Monday. He claimed that the Supreme Court’s April confirmation of a previous ruling that froze $2 billion of Iranian currency reserves in a New York bank was “seized unlawfully.”

“It is the clear expectation of the Iranian nation that the particular case of property seizure, which fully occurred during your term in office … and which is counter to all international legal principles and rules, be quickly fixed by your excellency and that not only the Iranian nation’s right be restored, and the seized property released and returned, but also the damages caused be fully compensated for,” wrote Ahmadinejad.

The letter urged Obama to “not let the historical defamation and bitter incident” occur during his presidency. Ahmadinejad, who was infamous for fueling hatred toward the U.S. and Israel during his tenure, even went as far to say he was writing on a humanitarian level to protect “the inalienable rights” of Iran.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in April was the final result of a protracted legal battle between Iran and victims of Iranian backed terrorism, particularly those involved in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The Islamic Jihad terror group, which was actively supported and directed by the Islamic Republic, took credit for the attack.

Iran is currently appealing the Supreme Court decision in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  The appeal may be futile, however, as the U.S. has not recognized the court’s compulsory decisions since 1986, after the ICJ made a questionable decision ordering the U.S. to pay war reparations to Nicaragua. It is believed that Ahmadinejad may be using the controversy to bolster another political run in next year’s elections.

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