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article imageOp-Ed: Iran claims Luxembourg court unfreezes $1.6 billion of its assets

By Ken Hanly     Apr 13, 2020 in Business
The Luxembourg Court of Cassation has yet to release its report and make a public announcement Iran is already reporting a legal victory. Iran claims that the court has freed $1.6 billion in Iranian assets that were frozen at the request of the US.
Assets frozen at US request
On May 8 of 2018 President Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) an agreement on Iran's nuclear program that had been agreed to in July 2015 by China, France, Russia, the UK, Germany, and the US. The US then reimposed stinging sanctions against Iran.
Background
In 2012 a New York court found that Iran had provided material support and resources to al-Qaida for acts of terrorism. The court awarded the plaintiffs against Iran, all private citizens, damages of over $7 billion. In March of 2019 a Luxembourg court found that there were no grounds in international law to uphold the US 2012 court order. Bahram Qasemi a spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry according to the state news agency said:“The era of totalitarian and bullying behavior of America toward other countries is over and it can no longer raise such groundless accusations." The appended video discusses the Luxembourg court ruling.
The US requested Luxembourg and the EU to keep Iran's assets frozen and they complied. Iran tried to access its funds in 2017 but was unsuccessful. However there are reports that the US has agreed to unfreeze some frozen Iranian assets so that Iran could buy medical supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This may have influenced the Luxembourg court decision to unfreeze the $1.6 billion to Iran.
Iran also wants the US sanctions to be eased to help fight the crisis but there is no sign of the US doing that as yet.
Iran has also applied to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $5 billion emergency loan to help finance its fight against COVID-19. However, it is expected that the loan may be rejected as the US opposes the loan and the US has great influence over the IMF many claim. The IMF is based in Washington.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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