U.S. judge hits Iran with $2.65 billion in damages over 1983 Marines barracks bombing

The biggest damage award against a foreign power in U.S. history, according to the judge himself.

Iran must pay $2.65 billion to the families of the 241 U.S. service members killed in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, a federal judge declared Friday in a ruling that left survivors and families shedding tears of joy…

Iran has been blamed for supporting the militant group Hezbollah, which carried out the suicide bombing in Beirut. It was the worst terrorist act against U.S. targets until the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Hundreds of people crowded into a federal courtroom to hear Friday’s ruling. Parents have grown old since their children were killed. Siblings have grown into middle-age. Children have married and started families of their own.

Weeping spectators stood and erupted in applause and hugs as Lamberth left the bench.

If this story sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because the very same judge — Royce Lamberth, a Reagan appointee — dropped a $254 million verdict on Iran last year for its role in the Khobar Towers bombing. There’s no way to collect except to seize Iranian assets, which depends upon being able to locate them — no easy feat given the regime’s expertise at hiding them to avoid U.S./UN sanctions on the nuclear program — and then confiscate them per U.S. and international law. The verdict’s largely symbolic, in other words, but only a little less gratifying for that reason, as the boldface part shows.

Quite a rap sheet the regime is building for itself, though. An international arrest warrant was issued last year for the new head of Iran’s Assembly of Experts after he was indicted in Argentina on terrorism charges. Now there’s a cool two-billion-dollar judgment stemming from actions taken by the government in the early 1980s. The president of Iran at the time who oversaw those actions? The current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Blowing things up is a surefire way to get promoted in Tehran.

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