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Iran demands US pay billions in compensation for slain nuke scientists

TEHRAN: A court in Iran on Thursday ordered the United States government to pay over $4 billion to the families of Iranian nuclear scientists who have been killed in targeted attacks in recent years, state-run media reported. 

The largely symbolic ruling underscores the escalating tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, with negotiations to restore the tattered atomic accord at a standstill.

 

Although Tehran has blamed Israel in the past for slayings targeting Iranian nuclear scientists since a decade ago, Iran did not directly accuse its arch-foe Israel in its announcement. Iran has not recognized Israel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the pro-West monarchy and brought Islamists to power.

The court mentioned Israel only in saying the U.S. supported the “Zionist regime” in its “organized crime” against the victims.

It is unclear how the court decision, like a raft of previous Iranian cases against the U.S. as the two sides have engaged in a spiraling escalation of threats, would gain traction; there are no American assets to confiscate in the Islamic Republic.

Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed tough economic sanctions on Iran that severed most of its oil revenues and international financial transactions. However, President Joe Biden wanted to return to the accord, but talks have stalled in recent weeks over America’s designation of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.

In late 2020, Iran blamed Israel for killing its top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, with a remote-controlled machine gun while he was traveling in a car outside Tehran.

Iran also has placed sanctions on prominent American political and military officials for alleged “terrorism” and “human rights violations,” in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top commander, Qassem Soleimani, two years ago.

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