Iran told the United Nations on Thursday that it reserves the right to take "counter-measures" in response to a US court decision to use Tehran's frozen assets to compensate US victims of terror attacks.
In a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Iran said the Supreme Court ruling last week was “outrageous robbery disguised under a court order.”
“It is in fact the United States that must pay long overdue reparations to the Iranian people for its persistent hostile policies,” wrote Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iran “reserves the right to take appropriate lawful action, including necessary and proportionate counter-measures, to restore and protect the rights of Iranian people against such persistent unlawful conduct by the United States,” he said.
The Supreme Court ruled on April 20 that Iran must hand over nearly $2 billion in frozen assets to the more than 1,000 survivors and relatives of those killed in attacks blamed on Tehran.
The attacks included the 1983 bombing of US Marine barracks in Beirut and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.
Zarif described the court ruling as “fake and phony and a travesty of justice in every sense of law, jurisdiction, merit, fact and process.”
The foreign minister cited US involvement in the 1953 Iran coup, US backing for Baghdad in the Iran-Iraq war and the shooting down of an Iranian airliner by a US missile in 1988 as grounds for US compensation to Iranian nationals.
He urged Ban to press the United States to release all frozen Iranian assets in US banks in line with the nuclear agreement reached last year.
The Supreme Court ruling came after a New York tribunal in March ordered Tehran to pay $7.5 billion to victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon — and $3 billion to insurers over related claims — after ruling that Iran had failed to prove that it did not help the bombers.
Zarif called the claim of Iranian involvement in the 9/11 attacks “absurd,” saying it contradicts “even public statements as well as findings — open or sealed — of investigations by the US government and US Congress.”