Iran following US plan to seize frozen assets

Seif said the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has a total of $2.5 billion frozen in New York, including the interest on top of the original $1.7 billion held in Citibank accounts.

Iran is following the case of its assets frozen in bank accounts in New York which the US seeks to appropriate under court rulings, Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif says.

The US Congress has approved a bill allowing the Americans to claim Iranian funds in a case which is currently before the Supreme Court, with the Obama administration urging the tribunal to rubber-stamp it.

Over 1,300 Americans are reportedly pressing to receive billions of dollars of the Iranian money in awarded damages over two bombings in Beirut and Saudi Arabia in 1983 and 1996.

On Sunday, Seif said the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has a total of $2.5 billion frozen in New York, including the interest on top of the original $1.7 billion held in Citibank accounts.

“This case is being followed by the Presidential Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs which we hope we will get to a conclusion,” he told reporters in Tehran on the sidelines of a forum on Islamic finance.

In 2012, President Barack Obama issued an executive order blocking all of CBI’s assets held in the US in order to prevent Tehran from repatriating them.

At the same time, Congress passed a law which included a provision making it easier for the Americans to use Iranian funds frozen in the US.

CBI says the US Congress passed the law to change the outcome of the case. It has asked the US federal courts to decide whether that violates the constitutional separation of powers.

The case is currently before the US Supreme Court, with the Obama administration urging it not to overturn the decisions of US Circuit and Appeals courts to award the plaintiffs.

Tehran is already disappointed by Obama’s signing of a Congressional bill this month aimed at limiting travels to Iran and trade with the country.

Iran says the law violates a July nuclear accord and amounts to new sanctions on the country.

On Friday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari rapped US judicial decisions, saying American courts are “violating the basic principles of international law through recourse to unsubstantiated and baseless allegations”.

“Some US courts are making a travesty of justice by sentencing the Islamic Republic of Iran over the past few years to paying restitution to victims of terror acts carried out by known citizens of US allies,” he said.

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