Iran demands compensation from the US for the death of scientists


An Iranian court on Thursday ordered the US 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 ruling, which is largely symbolic, underscores escalating tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program as negotiations to revive the ailing deal with nuclear powers remain stalled.

Although Iran has in the past blamed Israel for attacking Iranian nuclear scientists over the past decade, it did not directly accuse its archenemy in the announcement. Iran has not recognized Israel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the pro-Western monarchy and brought Islamists to power.

The court only mentioned Israel in saying that the United States supported the “Zionist regime” in its “organized crime” against the victims.

The implementation of this decision, as with previous cases between the two sides, was unclear: there are no US assets in the country that can be seized.

Despite this, the court, which is dedicated to reviewing the Iranians’ complaints against Washington, summoned 37 former US officials, including former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; former Iran envoy Brian Hook; and former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

Trump unilaterally withdrew the country from the landmark nuclear pact in 2018 and imposed harsh economic sanctions that deprived Iran of most of its oil revenue and international financial transactions.

His successor, Joe Biden, wanted to return to the deal, but talks have stalled in recent weeks after Washington designated the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, Iran is enriching uranium to its closest level of weapons grade, under diminishing international supervision. Earlier this month, it withdrew 27 surveillance cameras from the International Atomic Energy Agency, a move the UN agency’s director says is a “fatal blow” to the nuclear pact.

The families of three nuclear scientists killed in targeted attacks and a scientist injured in another incident filed a complaint in Tehran, state news agency IRNA reported, which did not identify the plaintiffs. The court awarded Washington a total award of $4.3 billion, including fines.

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