Beirut Bombing Victims Say Obama Administration Siding With Iran in Opposing Amendments to Sanctions Bill
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — American families and survivors of Iranian terrorism today accused the Obama Administration of blocking legislation that would hold Iran accountable for its unpunished attack on U.S. peacekeeping soldiers in Lebanon 30 years ago.
“This Administration talks a lot about sanctions, but we know Iran is watching this case closely and, astonishingly, Obama’s people are taking Iran’s side,” said Lynn Smith Derbyshire, whose brother Marine Captain Vincent Smith was killed in the 1983 bombing.
“We have petitioned Congress to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from avoiding its obligations to pay judgments awarded to past and future victims and survivors of Iranian terrorism. We’ve spoken with many sympathetic Members of Congress but they won’t act while this Administration is blocking what we and the American people know is right. The Members of the Senate Banking Committee can help do what is right at a mark-up session of S. 1048 on Thursday by including our amendments. If they chose not to, then shame on them,” Ms. Derbyshire said.
Derbyshire’s group, which represents more than 1000 families from around the country, said they are making a last ditch effort this week by appealing to senators considering S. 1048, known as the Iran Sanctions Bill, to seek support for amendments that would hold that government responsible for its unprovoked 1983 bombing of U.S. soldiers in Beirut. The Obama Administration is opposing the amendments.
Ms. Derbyshire says her group asked Congress to strengthen existing law barring the Government of Iran, and potentially other state sponsors of terrorism, from laundering money into the United States to finance, directly or indirectly, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.
“We’re fighting in the courts some major global financial and government institutions, including the Government of Iran. We can show that international banks have moved billions of dollars of funds from Bank Markazi, Iran’s central bank, through banks in the U.S. So far that money has been untouchable. We believe that is wrong. We are confident that most Americans would agree. Yet, the Obama Administration is thwarting our efforts,” Ms. Derbyshire said.
In 1983, an Iranian suicide agent exploded a massive truck bomb, destroying a U.S military barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The blast killed 241 American Marines, soldiers and sailors and injured hundreds more. The mass murder was a brutal, unprovoked attack on American servicemen. It also was a terrorist assault on the United States by the most active sponsor of State terrorism in the world, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In 2007, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia found Iran liable for the Beirut bombing. He ordered it to pay $2.65 billion to the surviving victims and families.
“Everyone agrees that the most effective way to hold Iran accountable, short of war, is to deliver a blow to its government finances. The Obama Administration has been encouraging other nations to impose economic sanctions on Iran. Incredibly, however, it is opposing a clear and effective way to take $2.65 billion out of the Iranian financial system and directly punish Iran for a specific act of terrorism Iran would like America to forget.”
The Administration’s opposition will make it harder for future victims of Iranian terrorism to obtain justice as well, explained Ms. Derbyshire.
S. 1048 is scheduled for mark-up in the Senate Committee of Banking, Housing and Urban Development on Thursday, February 2. Ms. Derbyshire and her fellow family members hope to persuade senators to include their amendments.
*This release is distributed by Saylor Company Public Relations Counsel under the authority and direction of Thomas Fay, Esq., legal counsel for the group mentioned.
SOURCE Saylor Company Public Relations Counsel under the authority and direction of Thomas Fay, Esq.