US complying with Iran deal, judge says in Boeing ruling
CHICAGO — A federal judge in a civil case focused on a 2003 attack by terrorists backed by the Iranian government says the Trump administration has notified the court that it is complying with the 2015 multiparty deal designed to restrict Iran’s nuclear program.
The disclosure came in a ruling this week by Chief U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo in Chicago in which he ordered Boeing to turn over to terror-attack victims details of a $16 billion contract with Iran Air, Iran’s flag carrier, to purchase 80 commercial planes. They’re seeking to collect on a longstanding, $67-million civil judgment against Iran.
President Donald Trump has sharply criticized the nuclear deal hammered out during the Obama administration. In turn, Iran has accused the U.S. of not complying with terms of the deal, which also involved France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and China.
Castillo’s ruling, posted in the court docket Tuesday, rejects Boeing’s contention that providing the contract details to the victims would not only undermine the mega-contract with Iran Air — but could jeopardize the nuclear deal itself. That deal lifted sanctions on Iran and many hailed the Boeing contract in 2016 as an example of how the nuclear agreement benefited both countries.
Castillo said the Trump administration notice, dated Feb. 2, declined to take a position on whether or not the judge should force Boeing to disclose the details of the contract.
U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, an Illinois Republican, released a statement Thursday praising Castillo’s ruling, saying it is “indicative of the risks of doing business with the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.”
Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers declined comment Thursday. A message seeking comment from a lead attorney for the victims, Robert Tolchin, wasn’t returned.
The relatives of 7-year-old Naom Leibovitch are suing. She was killed by members of the Palestine Islamic Jihad — which the U.S. State Department has described as an Iranian-funded terrorist organization — when they fired on the Leibovitches as they travelled on a highway in Jerusalem. Her sister, Shira Leibovitch, and other members of the family were injured.
The plaintiffs want to go through the contract to help determine what Iranian assets they might be able to access and seize to fulfil the $67 million judgment. The default judgment was entered after Iran never responded to the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
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