A US federal court in New York ruled that the Islamic Republic can be held accountable for the activities of the Houthi militia in Yemen that is backed by Iran both financially and on ideological grounds.
The federal court ruled that US citizens would be entitled to compensation for losses they had suffered as a result of operations carried out by the Houthis, also known as the Ansarullah militia.
This includes the families of two US citizens who were kidnapped by the Houthis in 2015, both of which are suing the Islamic Republic.
The two men were kidnapped from the airport in Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2015 and allegedly tortured. One of them died under torture after 16 days. The other remained a hostage for six months until he was released.
The compensation will likely come from Iranian assets the US government has seized as part of its sanctions program against Iran.
The exact amount of compensation due will be ruled on at a later date.
It is the first time, a US federal court has held Iran accountable for Houthis’ actions, including kidnapping, murder, and torture, and has ruled that victims are entitled to compensation from blocked Iranian assets.
Prior to this, US courts have held Iran accountable for actions taken by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Palestine’s Hamas and the Islamic Movement, and have accordingly blocked around $100 billion of Iranian assets in the United States. In these cases, the plaintiffs were able to acquire about $2 billion of blocked assets in compensation.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei held a meeting with Mohammed Abdul-Salam, spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi militia.