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Iranian court orders US govt., entities to pay $50bn over Gen. Soleimani assassination

Iranian mourners gather during the funeral procession for top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in his hometown of Kerman, southeastern Iran, on January 7, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

An Iranian court has ruled that the United States government and a number of individuals and entities should pay nearly $50 billion in compensation for their roles in the assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport more than three years ago.

The 55th Branch of the Legal Court of International Relations of Tehran Justice Department on Wednesday issued the ruling against a total of 42 defendants.

The court noted that it issued the verdict after diligently reviewing the case seeking financial, moral and punitive damages linked to the assassination, and following three public hearings.

The Tehran-based court also highlighted that the decision was taken after a thorough examination following the complaints of 3,318 Iranian citizens.

The US government, former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, former US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, the US Department of Defense, the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Reserve System as well as weapons companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon were among the people and entities found responsible for General Soleimani's assassination.

The courted ordered the defendants to pay a total of $49.77 billion in damages to claimants in the case.

They were condemned to pay $16.59 billion in damages to make up for the moral and monetary losses brought about by the assassination.

Additionally, the defendants were ordered to pay double the damages, totaling $33.18 billion, in order to deter future violations and ensure accountability for their actions.

Apart from financial penalties, the court ordered the defendants to publish an official apology to the plaintiffs.

The ruling, which was issued in absentia, allows for an appeal within a period of two months.

Lieutenant General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and their companions were assassinated in a US drone strike authorized by then-president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport on January 3, 2020.

Both commanders were highly revered across the Middle East because of their key role in fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

On January 8, 2020, the IRGC targeted the US-run Ain al-Asad base in Iraq’s western province of Anbar with a wave of missile attacks in retaliation for the assassination of Lt. Gen. Soleimani.

According to the Pentagon, more than 100 American forces suffered “traumatic brain injuries” during the counterstrike on the base.

Iran has described the missile attack on Ain al-Assad as a “first slap.”

Two days after the attack, Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill that required the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by the US in the country.

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