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August 12, 2015 8:21 pm

New York Lawsuit for Victims of Terror Goes After Kerry, Lew and Unfrozen Iranian Assets

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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Secretary of State John Kerry (R), Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew defend their Iran deal at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: screenshot.

Secretary of State John Kerry (R), Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew defend their Iran deal at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: screenshot.

Israeli activist legal center Shurat Hadin and New York attorney Robert Tolchin filed a lawsuit at a New York district court asking for an injunction to halt the U.S. from releasing over $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets as part of the pending nuclear deal with Iran, the New York Observer reported on Tuesday.

The lawsuit names two dozen plaintiffs who were victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism between 1995 and 2006, and the State and Treasury departments as well as their current secretaries, John Kerry and Jack Lew, respectively, are listed as defendants. Kerry and Lew were crucial in framing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) with Iran that would release at least $56 billion in frozen Iranian assets in exchange for some restrictions and monitoring of Iran’s vexed nuclear program.

The plaintiffs together hold $1 billion in claims against the Iranian government, and apparently they fear the windfall cash destined for Iran upon implementation of the JCPoA will strip them of their best leverage for getting Tehran to pay up.

Tolchin was convinced that the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 ensured that the law was on the plaintiffs’ side; the law allows victims of terrorism to claim their compensation from blocked funds.

“Blocking is not just about depriving the terrorist state of those assets. It also allows the victims who have won judgments and gone through all the anguish and emotional baggage to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

The State Department, meanwhile, told Fox News there was no connection between sanctions relief based on the internationally-brokered nuclear deal with Iran and any outstanding court judgments.

The attempt to target the blocked funds is the latest initiative by attorneys to hold Iran accountable for sponsoring terrorist activities that have claimed hundreds of American lives. Many are awaiting the sale of a skyscraper at 650 Fifth Avenue in New York City, which a judge awarded to plaintiffs in a landmark case against Iran.

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  • Ron

    Jack Lew is the worst type of Jew. He poses as an orthodox jew and in reality is anti-semite. And if I’m wrong he does not have the character to stand up for Israel because power is more important.

    • HaroldT

      Lew, America’s Richard Goldstone.

  • fanya vasilevsky

    While accepting the office, Pr.Obama gave an oath to defend the country. He violated this oath. Indeed, he cited with the state that chant regularly “death to America.” Pr. Obama has to be impeached and stand trial for treason.

  • geoffrey ben-nathan

    With all these replies and by the time the e-mail comes to me, there’s nothing left to say, but bracha ve-hatzlacha to shurat ha-din.

    • Lucille Kaplan

      Yes, blessings and success to the inspired professionals at Shurat HaDin!

  • Yoel larry

    Never Again?
    Never in my life did I ever imagine that a U.S. President would use blatantly antisemitic invective and innuendo in a speech before the American People !
    We can not let this outrage stand. This Shabbat:
    Every Jew in America should demand that during his or her Sermon, their Congregation Rabbi should address the President’s vile statement and denounce the outrageous and slanderous words that he spoke last week in which he accused those opposing his unpopular Iran Nuclear Deal of ‘dual loyalty’ and being under the pay of Jewish ‘lobbyists’ !
    Those words and the treachery that they imply have implicitly caused the deaths of millions of innocent Jews over the course of tragic history.
    We must demand that this President immediately apologize to the American Jewish Community and retract his slanderous, divisive, and inciteful rhetoric.
    Come to your Shul, Synagogue, or Temple for this Saturday Shabbat Service to Pray before G-d and also to support our besieged Jewish Nation at this dark and troubled moment in History. We must Demand our voice be heard.
    Every clergyman in America has a moral responsibility to stand up against this president’s reprehensible foray into antisemitic rhetoric. His vile slanderous words could start an avalanche, G-d forbid! How disgusting that he would play with the fire of religious hatred for political gain. His statements are unworthy of respect and must be loudly denounced by every civilized individual. The playing of race cards and Jew cards for political gain is reprehensible and must not be ignored. Democrats, Republicans, Christians, Muslims, Jews…all have an equal responsibility to oppose such dangerous words.
    G-d should strike such evil down before it ignites a blood storm of antisemitic hatred and we must help Him by standing up and speaking out.
    We Jews failed to do that once before the European Holocaust.
    We must not be silent now!

  • Lucille Kaplan

    In 1978, the U.S. clamored to create a system by which American business entities having claims (most unadjudicated) to Iranian assets (that had been nationalized at the onset of the Islamic Revolution) could easily and quickly attach these assets via filings with the branches of the U.S. Treasury Dept. Today, the U.S. government dishonestly denies that individuals who have won unequivocal federal judgments against Iranian assets have any legitimate interest in preserving access to these. The current Administration’s political animus against victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism is nearly unbelievable; but how can we be surprised by this, when the current Administration all but openly describes opponents of the Iran nuclear deal as being in league with a cabal of Jewish financiers, using imagery directly borrowed from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? I’m rarely surprised by anti-Semitism, but to see it displayed so shamelessly by a Western head of state and his minions has shocked even me.

  • Yakov Leschen

    Hatzlocha Bracha

  • brenrod

    the corrupt US gov will win

  • ESLombard

    I hope that we have good lawyers working on restoration of lands, homes and other assets stolen from Israel’s then 875,000 North African Jews,. After that, perhaps our lawyers can build a case against the Arab League and cohorts in seeking justice for the abuse and suffering they, not Israel, have imposed on their Palestinian brothers,
    UNRWA might prove a worthy adversary in a suit for having sucked up billions for services very different from those it was commissioned to render.

    • Simone

      You are correct

  • Money far better spent than forwarded to Iran to promote more suffering!!!

  • Wayne Scott

    Every American soldier and their families injured or in anyway effected by Iran should sue for a piece of that $150,000,000,000.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Well wrote, Iran if found to be guilty to had sponsor terrorism that effect USA resident should be force to pay and frozen asset is the only practical way to achieve such goal.

  • May Mr Tolchin & Shurat Hadin have great success!

  • Francis Figliola

    Terrific move!

  • Jack HOLAN

    It is unbelievable that American suffering the pain of terrorism fighting many legal battles over the years finally win their day in court and are through the judicial system awarded compensation mandated by law. Along comes a Politically appointed Flunky doing the Administratins bidding taking the side of a State Sponsor of Terror. A Theocratic Dictatorship and quashing the Courts decision in favor of that Turban run Nuclear Threshold State against our own people. Where I the Humanity, where are the values that these hacks should have. I know the law suit is daunting but I pray Shurat HaDin prevails and Kerry has to turn his fortune and his wife’s the Heinz dynasty to the plaintiffs as a penalty. By the way SHURAT HADIN AND PROFESSOR DERSOWITZ Iunderstand that now Obama plans to lift the sanctions on his own authority if Congress votes him down. He’s betting they will never impeach a 1/2 Black President. I hope he’s wrong if he makes such a move.

  • Ephraim

    Who would have thought that one needs to sue the US government in order for them to pay victims of terrorism, instead of paying the terrorists, as Kerry and his boss so desperately want to do.

  • Michael Mayben

    This lawsuit is justified and should be upheld by the court provided the District Court Judge is not on the Obama payroll.

  • nelson marans

    Good luck is needed with this administration. Unfortunately, with its coddling of Iran the Obama administration will do everything in its power to appease Iran, despite any judgments rendered against that nation. Always hiding under executive privilege, no matter how remote, this administration has appeased our enemies at every turn, including the infamous Iran accord.