Iran must pay more than $33 million to the family of a US-born Israeli diplomat killed in a 1992 terrorist attack, a federal judge said Monday.
US District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle said Iran was responsible for the truck bombing at the Israeli Embassy in Argentina. The blast killed 29 people, including David Ben-Rafael, who was born in the United States before immigrating to Israel.
Hizbullah accepted responsibility for the bombing and the US has held Iran responsible for helping finance and organizing the group's activities.
Iran refuses to acknowledge lawsuits
US law normally prevents people from suing foreign nations, but an exception is made for nations that support terrorism. Iran was designated a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984.
In a similar ruling in September, a federal judge ruled that Iran must pay $2.65 billion to the families of the 241 US service members killed in the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut.
Though Iran has faced several hefty judgments like this in the past, it has refused to acknowledge the lawsuits and has not sent lawyers to defend itself.
Huvelle awarded the money to Ben-Rafael's widow, father and children for wrongful death and pain and suffering. The ruling allows the family to try to collect Iranian assets from various sources around the world. Finding and seizing that money will be difficult, however.