In October 1983, the Iran-backed Hezbollah drove a bomb-laden truck into a US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 US service members and injuring hundreds more. This followed an attack six months earlier on the US Embassy in Beirut, which left 63 people dead, including 17 Americans.
For weeks afterwards, the US government and the families of the victims struggled to understand what happened and why, sparking a major investigation. It became clear that the attack had been ordered by the Iranian regime – a monument celebrating that attack was even erected in Tehran in 2004 – and so the Iranian Regime became known as the number one supporter of terrorism.
Since then, the families of the victims have won a landmark judgment against Iran in federal court and launched a campaign to receive the $1.67 billion in Iranian assets secretly laundered through New York by Luxembourg-based financial institution Clearstream. Clearstream and Iran claim that the money was never in US jurisdiction – despite evidence to the contrary – and therefore cannot be turned over, but Trump could help the families by standing by the judgement of the US Court of Appeals.
The Appeals Court ordered that the money is returned to the US and Iran appealed this to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court wants to know if Trump agrees that they should grant Iran’s petition. He should recommend that the court deny Iran’s petition, not only for the Marines and their families but also for US national security. Such a sum of money should not be returned to Iran when they would only use it to increase their terrorism and other malign behaviours.
Retired General James L Jones, USMC, chairman of the Atlantic Council and President Barack Obama’s former national security adviser, wrote: “The irony of the Iranian government seeking the support of the Trump administration against the families of the 241 US service members that Iran murdered 35 years ago is not lost on our nation… This administration has an opportunity to teach the Iranian regime that “what goes around comes around” is not just an empty slogan in the context of the Beirut Marine families’ remarkable quest for justice.”
The Trump administration can help demonstrate the depth of compassion that the US feels for the Marines and their families and ensure that the Iranian Regime knows that America will never forget its attack or stop fighting to deter and defeat these evil acts.