Bill pushes Iran to pay victims


A major defense bill includes provisions that would limit the ability of terrorist-backing states to protect U.S. assets from litigants.

The language, in the Defense Authorization bill approved Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives, would limit the appeal options for states found liable in U.S. courts for backing terrorism.

The legislation is based on an earlier stand-alone bill authored by two Jewish U.S. senators, Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). It is aimed particularly at Iran, which until now has successfully resisted dipping into U.S. assets to pay close to $2.7 billion in damages won in courts by families of the 241 servicemen killed in the 1983 Hezbollah attack on a U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut.

Hezbollah is Iran’s proxy in Lebanon. The bill must now be approved by the Senate and then goes to President Bush for signing.

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