A court in Iran has ordered the US government to pay over $US4 billion ($5.8 billion) to the families of Iranian nuclear scientists who have been killed in targeted attacks in recent years, state-run media reports.
The largely symbolic ruling underscores the escalating tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program, with negotiations to restore the tattered atomic accord at a standstill.
Although Tehran has blamed Israel in the past for slayings targeting Iranian nuclear scientists since a decade ago, Iran did not directly accuse its arch-foe Israel in its announcement.
Iran has not recognised Israel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted the pro-West monarchy and brought Islamists to power.
The court mentioned Israel only in saying the US supported the “Zionist regime” in its “organised crime” against the victims.
It’s unclear how the court decision, like a raft of previous Iranian cases against the US as the two sides have engaged in a spiraling escalation of threats, would gain traction; there are no American assets to confiscate in the Islamic Republic.
Still, the court branch, which is dedicated to the review of Iranian complaints against the US, summoned 37 former American officials, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Iran envoy Brian Hook and former Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.