Iran Loses Manhattan Skyscraper To 9/11 Victims

4/1/14 12:08PM EST

Iran Loses Manhattan Skyscraper To 9 11 Victims  Iran Loses Manhattan Skyscraper To 9/11 Victims

650 Fifth Ave/via wikimedia

How do you punish a foreign government found responsible for terrorist acts?

A Manhattan judge found a way last Friday when she ruled a Midtown building — valued at more than $500 million and owned by Iranian nationals — must be handed over to the families of 9/11 victims as well as survivors who sued for damages following the terrorist attacks, the New York Daily Newsreports.

When a federal judge ruled in 2011 that Iran and Hezbollah were responsible in part for the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the question was how to punish the offending parties found liable for over $6 billion in damages to survivors and the families of victims. The punishment meted out to Osama Bin Laden was swift and eternal, but holding foreign political entities is a more complicated affair.

The Daily News reports Judge Katherine Forrest saw an opening when she declared the owners of 650 Fifth Avenues fronts for the Iranian government, lending credence to the legal assertion they were at the time indeed the Iranian government. Once that logical leap was made, the Iranian companies’ $500 million property became fair game for the feds and the victims of the terrorist attacks on U.S. targets.

For these reasons, forfeiture of the entire building at 650 Fifth Ave. is not grossly excessive,” Forrest said in a quote provided by the New York Post. The judge noted the building was not an entirely evil operation, citing reports of contributions to the community. “Notwithstanding those charitable services, [the building owner]‘s actions on behalf of Assa, Bank Melli and Iran establish its culpability.”

In order to obtain the money that could to settle the lawsuits brought by 9/11 victims and surviving family members, the U.S. government will likely sell the property worth nearly half a billion dollars and distribute the funds to the parties who won the case in 2011.

Six other properties linked to the Iranian companies and scattered throughout the United States are also subject to seizure by U.S. government agents, Judge Forrest declared in the same ruling.


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