(July 15, 2019 / JNS) A new Israeli legal initiative could make it difficult for European countries to do business with Iran. The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) was established by Germany, Great Britain and France with the goal of bypassing harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, and facilitating the transfer of money to the Islamic Republic.
INSTEX began operating nearly two weeks ago, but now families of terrorism victims and the Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center—an NGO dedicated to “fighting terrorism and safeguarding Jewish rights worldwide”—have launched legal initiatives seeking to confiscate Iranian funds passing through INSTEX.
The plaintiffs are Israelis and Americans whose relatives were either murdered or wounded in attacks perpetrated in Israel by terrorist organizations funded by Iran, such as Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The families have already been granted compensation upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars by federal courts in the United States.
These families will file an unprecedented lawsuit on Monday in the Court of Sessions in France, demanding that all money, oil or other goods belonging to Iran or earmarked for Iran via a third party, be paid as compensation to the victims of terrorism as part of the enforcement of the American court ruling. The families are being represented by attorney and Shurat Hadin president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, and French attorney Charles Meyer.
The American sanctions forbid the transfer of Iranian funds through the international banking system. European and Asian companies, afraid of American sanctions, consequently ceased doing business with Iran, leading to INSTEX to allow Europe and other parties to continue buying Iranian oil.
One of the families involved in the lawsuit, the Braun family, won a stunning $178,500,000 U.S. court judgment against Iran and Syria in January 2017, for the two countries’ provision of material support to Hamas, which perpetrated the attack which led to the murder of three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun in a vehicular assault on the Jerusalem light rail in October 2014.
“It is appalling that the Europeans are continuing to help the regime in Tehran do business, when they know that Iran is still supporting and funding terror against Jews,” said Darshan-Leitner.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.