Iran's sponsorship of the Lebanese terrorist group Hizballah has cost it $813 million in damages in a lawsuit brought by victims of the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Lebanon and their families. The ruling by Chief Judge Royce Lamberth in the District of Columbia federal district court is the latest in a series of claims against the Iranian government stemming from the bombing which is nearing $9 billion in total damages.
"Regardless, no award—however many billions it contained—could accurately reflect the countless lives that have been changed by Iran's dastardly acts," Lamberth wrote last week.
Similar claims against Iran for supporting the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas resulted in billions of dollars in additional damages. Collecting on those judgments, however, has proven difficult so far.
The 1983 attack, carried out by a Hizballah suicide bomber in a truck laden with explosives, killed 241 U.S. servicemen in Lebanon on a peace-keeping mission. A subsequent Pentagon report said the massive explosion "ripped the building from its foundation. The building then imploded upon itself," crushing most of the victims.
As we have noted, several American Islamist groups refuse to label Hizballah a terrorist organization despite that and other attacks, and a longstanding designation by the United States.
Officials from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) routinely appear on Iran's state-sponsored English language television outlet, Press TV, never criticizing Iran's financial support for terrorists or its suppression of dissidents, opting instead to lament the conditions facing Muslims in America. On Sunday, CAIR national spokesman Ibrahim Hooper complained about "a rising level of Islamophobia in the United States."
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), which enjoys access to top-level government officials, called the barracks bombing of U.S. peacekeepers "a military operation, producing no civilian casualties – exactly the kind of attack that Americans might have lauded had it been directed against Washington's enemies."
Judge Lamberth doesn't see it that way.
"The court concludes that defendant Iran must be punished to the fullest extent legally possible for the bombing in Beirut on October 23, 1983," he wrote.