US Appeals Court Overturns Order to Seize Iranian Assets

Court: No Evidence Targeted Building Actually Owned by Iran

by Jason Ditz, July 20, 2016

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals today overturned a 2013 ruling ordering the seizure of a 36-storey office building in Manhattan in what was described as the “largest ever” terrorism-related asset seizure, intended to benefit 9/11 victims.

The victims claimed damages owed to them by Iran for 9/11. Interestingly, Iran’s lack of involvement in 9/11 had nothing to do with the ruling, which instead focused on the lack of evidence that Iran even owned the buildings targeted.

The non-profit Alavi Foundation, which actually owned the building, challenged the 2013 ruling, and the appeals court agreed that Judge Forrest erred in deciding that the group, whose headquarters are in the building, could be assumed to be the same as the Iranian government.

Alavi acquired the building before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, though the US government has argued that it is friendly to the Iranian government, and that the minority owner in the building, the Assa Corporation, has ties with a government-owned Iranian bank. Still, today’s ruling determined that was insufficient to show day-to-day Iranian government control of Alavi.

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