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May 16, 2019

Senator Doug Jones, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Assist Families of Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing Victims

The “Supporting Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act” would make it easier for victims’ families to seek restitution from Iran for the 1983 attack

Senator Jones: “I have heard from a number of these family members in Alabama personally and I cannot imagine the heartache they continue to face as a result of this horrific attack.  My hope is that our legislation would provide a small amount of comfort to those families by making it more likely they get the financial compensation they are entitled to, and to ensure that the Iranians continue to be held accountable for this senseless act of terror that its regime enabled.”

 

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) today joined his colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation to help the families of the U.S. Marines and other American personnel who were killed in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. At least 35 of these victims’ family members are residents of Alabama.

In October 1983, a terrorist drove a truck bomb into the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut killing 220 U.S. Marines and dozens of other personnel. The attack was perpetrated by Hezbollah, a terror group founded, trained, and financially supported by the Iranian regime.

This legislation amends the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 to allow the families of the Marine barracks bombing victims to execute on $1.68 billion in Iranian funds currently held by Clearstream, a Luxembourg-based firm. Since the attack, the victims’ families have won a number of court judgments authorizing the seizure of Iranian funds as restitution for the attack. Their legislation would make it easier for these family members to access restitution for their loved ones’ deaths.

“The families of the United States Marines and American personnel who lost their lives in the tragic terrorist attack in Beirut have suffered enough. I have heard from a number of these family members in Alabama personally and I cannot imagine the heartache they continue to face as a result of this horrific attack.  My hope is that our legislation would provide a small amount of comfort to those families by making it more likely they get the financial compensation they are entitled to, and to ensure that the Iranians continue to be held accountable for this senseless act of terror that its regime enabled,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Senators Tom Cotton (R- Ark.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla..), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) also cosponsored the legislation. Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Greg Pence (R-Ind.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).

Full text of the bill can be found here.

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