[JURIST] Iran Sunday dismissed a ruling [JURIST report] by a US federal judge requiring Iran to compensate the families of 241 US military personnel killed in the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut [Washington Post backgrounder], calling the ruling "baseless" and "politically motivated." On Friday, US District Judge Royce Lamberth awarded [opinion, PDF] $2.65 billion in compensation to the victims' families, the largest such judgment ever awarded by a US court against a foreign country. An Iranian spokesman said the US court ruling lacks legal value because it was issued unilaterally, and that the court should not have issued the opinion "without listening to the other side's views...and issue verdicts against Iran that are not legally defendable [sic]."
Iran has been blamed for supporting Hezbollah [CFR backgrounder], the militant group behind the bombing, but the country has always denied responsibility. State acceptance of liability for terrorist acts is not totally unprecedented; in 2003, Libya agreed to accept responsibility [US DOS press release] for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight 103 [Wikipedia backgrounder] over Lockerbie, Scotland, and compensate victims' families. AP has more. IRNA has local coverage.