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Iranian court orders US to pay $2.5 billion over 2008 bombing

The Islamic Republic accuses Jamshid Sharmahd, a German citizen and US resident, of involvement in a 2008 bombing in relation to his work with an Iranian monarchist group, but his trial was unfair, according to a rights watchdog.
Iranians carry the coffins at the Shah Cheragh shrine of Shiraz on April 15, 2008 during the funeral of the people who were killed in a mosque blast on April 12 in the southern city of Shiraz.

An Iranian court ordered the United States on Monday to pay nearly $2.5 billion to victims of a 2008 bombing in the country. The order relates to a convicted US resident whom Iran accuses of being involved in the attack.

The Branch 55 court in Tehran ordered the US government and the Iranian monarchist group Tondar to pay $2.47 billion to victims of the 2008 bombing in Shiraz, southern Iran. The blast, which occurred during a Shiite Muslim religious ceremony, killed 14 Iranians and injured more than 200 others. The decision followed litigation by families of the victims, the official Islamic Republic News agency reported.

Background: Iran accuses Jamshid Sharmahd, an Iranian-German who previously lived in Los Angeles, of being behind the 2008 Shiraz attack. Sharmahd is the creator of the website for the monarchist opposition group the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, also known as Tondar. The group calls for the end of the Islamic Republic, and the website includes statements claiming credit for explosions inside Iran, but Sharmahd has repeatedly denied involvement in acts of violence, according to the UK-based Amnesty International.

In 2020, Iranian agents detained Sharmahd during a stopover in Dubai and forcefully brought him to Iran. He was convicted in February 2023 on the charge of “corruption on earth” and sentenced to death after Iranian authorities accused him of leading Tondar and directing terrorist attacks in the country. The charge is described by Amnesty International as “not clearly defined in law.” Moreover, the rights watchdog says his confessions aired on state television were forced and that he was denied the right to choose his own lawyer.

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