Unable To Collect, Terror Victims Sue To Seize Iran’s Internet Assets


Stymied in attempts to collect more than $1.2 billion in court judgments against Iran for its sponsorship of terror attacks in Israel, 60 Americans who were victims of those attacks or whose family members were victims have filed a federal suit seeking permission to sell all of Iran’s Internet domain names and licenses.

The suit, filed in federal court in Washington, is seeking the money because Iran has ignored six court judgments awarded as early as 2002. The court papers were served on the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an agency of the US Department of Commerce in Washington, DC, which administrator the World Wide Web.

Attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Tel-Aviv-based Israel Law Center and Robert Tolchin of New York filed the suit, which observers said is a novel approach to collecting judgments.

Tolchin told The Jewish Week that a writ has already been served on ICANN, barring it from disposing of the Iranian domain names and licenses. He said the federal suit seeks court permission to now sell those domain names and licenses, with the proceeds going to his clients.

"For years the Iranian government has refused to pay its judgments, thumbing its nose at these terror victims and the American court system,” Darshan-Leitner said in a statement. “Our clients continue to suffer from the suicide bombing that Iran financed in Jerusalem nearly seventeen years ago. It is not our intention to shut down Iran's Internet usage, but we want what is rightfully due. If by seizing any funds earned from these licenses and contractual rights we can satisfy the judgments, we will have served our clients.”