For North Carolinians, there is a local connection that might have a direct legal reason to stop the Iran nuclear deal.
On July 31, 2002, 37-year-old Deana Carter of Greensboro was killed when a bomb exploded in the main cafeteria of the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus in Jerusalem. It took a long time to notify her father, Larry Carter, who guessed that her body must have been severely damaged in the explosion because they identified her from fingerprints. She was one of three victims from the United States killed in the terrorist act. He won a judgment against Iran that has never been paid.
In July, a group of American terrorism victims filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to stop the U.S. government from releasing billions of dollars in Iranian assets as a part of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The victims’ families had sued Iran and were awarded over $1.5 billion, including $152.7 million in compensation, by federal judges who found that Iran helped support the terrorist attacks against them. Iran hasn’t paid the judgments, some of which date back over a decade, the WSJ said.
Returning an estimated $100 billion to $150 billion in overseas bank accounts to Iran would make it more difficult for terrorism victims to seize that money, the victims’ lawyers said in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court in July, the WSJ reported.
“To release the funds instead of turning them over to the victims would make a farce out this hard-fought legal process,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, one of the lawyers representing the victims, told the WSJ.
Many of us know people who travel to Israel. We have to hope that those funding terrorism in Israel that harms American citizens will be held liable for the results of those acts. It must be so also for terrorist acts that result in harm to American citizens anywhere in the world, including, of course, the United States. Any lawsuits that connect Iran to terrorist acts will be exercises in futility when a guilty Iran refuses to pay. Removing payment from the frozen assets should be part of any treaty. Iran’s refusal to pay is evidence of the likelihood that it will not participate in the international community of nations.
Each of us needs to be able to travel anywhere with a sense that people will be held liable for terrorist acts regardless of whether those acts take place in Israel or any other country. It’s a small world with local connections.
Steven R. Edelman is a psychologist in Fayetteville.