Tuesday, April 26, 2016

In Broad Daylight: US Seizes Iranian Billions Held in Swiss Banks

Swiss Envoy Summoned over US Seizure of Iran's Assets

by Fars News Agency

April 26, 2016 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Giulio Hass in protest at the recent ruling by the US Supreme Court which authorized the transfer of $2 billion of Tehran's frozen assets to the families of the victims of a 1983 bombing in Beirut.

During the meeting held in Tehran on Tuesday at the invitation of Director-General of the Foreign Ministry's US Desk Mohammad Keshavarz-zadeh, he presented two official memos to Hass to protest at the US measure, describing it as a flagrant violation of the 1955 contract between the two countries, the US international legal undertakings and the judicial immunity of the Islamic Republic of Iran's properties.

Keshavarz-zadeh also underlined that the allegations raised against Iran on collaboration of the country's nationals in the September 11 attacks are ridiculous and against the accepted international laws.

Hass assured the Iranian foreign ministry diplomat that Iran's message would be conveyed to Washington and that he would also relay a response.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran represents the US Interests Section in Iran since Tehran and Washington severed diplomatic relations in 1980.

In relevant remarks today, Iranian Supreme Leader's Top Advisor for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati condemned the US court ruling, describing the act as a blatant instance of theft and "international robbery".

"The measure shows the US officials' contradictory remarks that they stress their commitment to undertakings and removal of sanctions in talks with the Iranian foreign minister on one hand and impose sanctions in other forms and rock the boat on the way of legal and free trade relations between Iran and other countries on the other hand," Velayati told reporters after meeting Swiss Deputy Foreign Minister Yves Rossier in Tehran.
"No doubt, this action is an international robbery and the Islamic Republic of Iran will insist on restoring its rights and will take its right from the Americans," he added.

Velayati underscored that the only way to confront the Americans is resistance against their excessiv

Also, on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted the ruling, stressing that Iran doesn’t recognize the ruling.

"The US has long been taking decisions against Iran which contradict the international laws and the Americans have filed different lawsuits against Iran during the past years; (but) we don’t recognize the US courts' rulings," Zarif said in a joint press conference with his Macedonian counterpart Nikola Poposki in Tehran.

Noting that he has raised the issue during his recent meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in New York on the sidelines of a UN conference, the Iranian top diplomat said,

"We see the US administration as the responsible body with regard to this issue and if they encroach (confiscate Iran's assets), we will claim compensation from the US administration."

Zarif also announced formation of a special committee in the government to study the US decision to transfer Iran's assets.

In 2012, the US Congress passed a law that specifically directed the US-based Citibank to turn over the Iranian assets to families of victims of the Beirut bombing.

Iran argues that Congress is intruding into the business of federal courts over the case. Tehran has long rejected allegations of involvement in the 1983 Beirut bombing.

The US Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that almost $2bn in frozen Iranian assets must be turned over to American families of people killed in the 1983 bombing of a US Marine Corps barracks in the Lebanese capital of Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran.

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