Iranian court orders US to pay billions for assassination ordered by Donald Trump

Tehran, Iran - A Tehran court has ordered the US government to pay nearly $50 billion in damages for assassinating top Iranian Qasem Soleimani, nearly four years ago, the country's judiciary said on Wednesday.

A Tehran court has found Donald Trump (l.) and the US government guilty of assassinating top general Iranian Qasem Soleimani in 2020.
A Tehran court has found Donald Trump (l.) and the US government guilty of assassinating top general Iranian Qasem Soleimani in 2020.  © Collage: REUTERS & Mohammed SAWAF / AFP

Then-US president Donald Trump ordered a drone strike near Baghdad airport that killed General Qasem Soleimani and his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on January 3, 2020.

Days later, Iran retaliated by firing missiles at bases in Iraq housing American and other coalition troops. No US personnel were killed but Washington said dozens suffered traumatic brain injuries.

The Iranian judiciary's Mizan Online news agency said that a Tehran court had sentenced the US government to pay $49.7 billion in "material, moral and punitive damages" after a lawsuit filed by more than 3,300 Iranians.

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The court found 42 individuals and legal persons guilty, including Trump, the US government, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and former defense secretary Mark Esper, Mizan added.

Soleimani commanded the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

He was one of the country's most popular public figures who spearheaded Iran's Middle East operations and was seen as a hero of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Iranian courts have now handed down several rulings against the US.

Last month, an Iranian court ordered the US government to pay $420 million in compensation to victims of an abortive 1980 operation to free hostages held at the US embassy.

In August, a Tehran court demanded Washington pay $330 million in damages for "planning a coup" in 1980 against the fledgling Islamic republic.

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Soleimani's killing caused outrage in Iran and other countries in the Middle East.
Soleimani's killing caused outrage in Iran and other countries in the Middle East.  © Mohammed SAWAF / AFP

Those suits follow a series of multi-billion-dollar compensation rulings against Tehran by US courts.

In 2016, the US Supreme Court ordered that Iranian assets frozen in the United States should be paid to victims of attacks Washington has blamed on Tehran, including the 1983 bombing of a US Marine barracks in Beirut and a 1996 blast in Saudi Arabia.

Tehran denies all responsibility for the attacks.

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It has appealed to international justice to help unlock funds of several Iranian individuals and companies that have been frozen by Washington.

In March, the International Court of Justice ruled that Washington's freezing of funds was "manifestly unreasonable".

But it ruled it had no jurisdiction to unblock nearly $2 billion in Iranian central bank assets frozen by the United States.

Iran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations since the aftermath of the 1979 revolution.

Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS & Mohammed SAWAF / AFP

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