US court orders Iran to pay $10.5B for alleged 9/11 role
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US court orders Iran to pay $10.5B for alleged 9/11 role

Smoke billowing from the twin towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. (Gene Boyars/AP Images)

Smoke billowing from the Twin Towers in New York City, Sept. 11, 2001. (Gene Boyars/AP Images)

(JTA) — A U.S. judge ordered Iran to pay more than $10.5 billion in damages to families of people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and to a group of insurers.

U.S. District Judge George Daniels in New York issued a default judgment Wednesday against Iran for $7.5 billion to the estates and families of people who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. It includes $2 million to each estate for the victims’ pain and suffering plus $6.88 million in punitive damages, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.

Daniels also awarded $3 billion to insurers including Chubb Ltd. that paid property damage, business interruption and other claims.

Earlier in the case, Daniels found that Iran had failed to defend itself from claims that it aided the Sept. 11 hijackers and was therefore liable for damages tied to the attacks. Daniels’ ruling Wednesday adopts damages findings by a U.S. magistrate judge in December. While it is difficult to collect damages from an unwilling foreign nation, the plaintiffs may try to collect part of the judgments using a law that permits parties to tap terrorists’ assets frozen by the government.

“For over a decade, we’ve wanted to hold accountable those who assisted the September 11 terrorists in their attack on the United States. That day has finally arrived,” said Fiona Havlish, whose husband, Donald, perished on the 101st Floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Iran has consistently denied any involvement in the 2001 attack, which Western intelligence agencies said was the work of the Sunni terrorists from the al-Qaida group.