US Top Court Turns Away Dispute Involving Iran's Bank Melli

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The US Supreme Court Monday declined to take up Iranian government-owned Bank Melli's appeal of a lower court ruling that allowed victims of militant attacks allegedly backed by Iran to seek millions of dollars in compensation from the bank.

The justices left in place the lower court's ruling that allowed some plaintiffs, trying to satisfy part of nearly $1 billion in court judgments against Iran, to go after roughly $17.6 million that Visa Inc and Franklin Resources Inc owed to Bank Melli related to credit card use in Iran, Reuters reported.

This marked the second time in two weeks the justices have acted in a case in which Iran has refused to pay judgments won in American courts by US plaintiffs who have accused Tehran of complicity in various alleged militant attacks.

The high court on Feb. 21 rejected a bid by another set of plaintiffs to seize priceless Persian artifacts held at a Chicago museum to satisfy a separate $71.5 million court judgment against Iran.

In the case in which the court acted Monday, about 90 plaintiffs in four lawsuits won nearly $1 billion in court judgments against Iran for its alleged complicity in various attacks between 1990 and 2002.

Bank Melli appealed to the US Supreme Court, arguing that the $17.6 million, funds frozen due to US sanctions against Iran, cannot be seized because the bank does not actually own it. Rather, it is owed to the bank by Visa and Franklin.

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