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Apr 27, 9:58 AM EDT

Iran's president slams US court ruling on frozen assets


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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's president said Wednesday that a U.S. court ruling that allows for the seizure of Iranian assets amounts to theft and indicates continued "hostility" toward his country.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that the families of victims of a 1983 bombing in Lebanon and other attacks linked to Iran can collect nearly $2 billion in frozen funds from Iran as compensation.

Rouhani was quoted by state TV as warning that the United States would have to face up to "all the consequences of this illegal action," without elaborating. "The move indicates Washington's continued hostility against the Iranian nation," Rouhani added, speaking during a Cabinet meeting.

On Tuesday, the Cabinet tasked a group of top officials with examining the court decision and defending Iran's "rights."

The U.S. court's ruling directly affects more than 1,300 relatives of victims, some who have been seeking compensation for more than 30 years. They include families of the 241 U.S. service members who died in the Beirut bombing.

Iran denies any links to the attacks.

In separate remarks Wednesday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei charged the United States with "Iranophobia," saying it was preventing banks from doing business with Iran despite the lifting of sanctions under last year's landmark nuclear deal.

"They write on paper that world banks should go and deal with Iran, but that is just on the paper and is worthless. In practice, they scare banks in such a way that they would not dare come near Iran," he said during a meeting with laborers.

U.S. officials have said they are trying to address Iranian complaints that U.S. financial regulations are denying Iran the sanctions relief it deserves under the nuclear deal.

Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with his Iranian counterpart last week, said the United States would not stand in the way of foreign banks or firms doing business with Iranian companies that are no longer subject to U.S. sanctions.

Kerry said the administration was willing to further clarify what transactions are now permitted with Iran and urged foreign financial institutions to seek answers from U.S. officials if they have questions.

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