Family members of U.S. victims of Iran-sponsored terrorist attacks are seeking to legally own all “top-level domain” (TLD) names provided by the U.S. to Iran.
The domains included the .ir TLD, the ایران TLD, and all Internet Protocol (IP) addresses being utilized by the Iranian government and its agencies. The families served court papers to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, DC, which manages the World Wide Web.
“This is the first time that terror victims have moved to seize the domain names, IPs and Internet licenses of terrorism sponsoring states like Iran and are attempting to satisfy their court judgments. The Iranians must be shown that there is a steep price to be paid for their sponsorship of terrorism. In business and legal terms it is quite simple-we are owed money, and these assets are currency worth money,” said Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, representing the families in the lawsuit with Robert Tolchin of New York.
The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, legislated to assist terror victims to collect judgments against foreign states supporting terrorism, stipulates the attachment of “the property of a foreign state… and the property of an agency or instrumentality of such a state, including property that is a separate juridical entity or is an interest held directly or indirectly in a separate juridical entity.”
“For years the Iranian government has refused to pay its judgments, thumbing its nose at these terror victims and the American court system,” Darshan-Leitner said. “Our clients continue to suffer from the suicide bombing that Iran financed in Jerusalem nearly seventeen years ago. It is not our intention to shut down Iran’s internet usage, but we want what is rightfully due. If by seizing any funds earned from these licenses and contractual rights we can satisfy the judgments, we will have served our clients.”