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Beirut Bombing Proves Ever More Costly to Iran

A federal judge awarded an additional $454 million to victims of the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon.

(CN) - Iran owes $454 million more to victims of the 1983 bombing of U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, a federal judge ruled

The judgment is part of a recent string of verdicts against Iran since Congress added a state-sponsored terrorist exemption to the Federal Sovereign Immunities Act in 2008.

In 1983, a Hezbollah suicide bomber drove a vehicle filled with more than 2,000 pounds of explosives into the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 63 people.

Six months later, Hezbollah carried out the more famous bombing on the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, killing almost 300 American and French soldiers, and injuring many more.

Chief U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth in Washington, D.C. held Iran and its Ministry of Intelligence and Security liable for sponsoring the attacks in 2007, and since then, D.C. courts have doled out several awards totaling more than $10 billion to victims and their families.

On Tuesday, Lamberth awarded an additional $102 million in compensatory damages, and more than $351 million in punitive damages, to families of U.S. Marines killed in the Beirut barracks bombing.

In doing so, Lamberth was acting on recommendations made by a special master.

The court set a baseline award for pain and suffering for victims at $5 million, with individual awards being adjusted upward or downward depending on the severity of the recipient's injuries.

To family members of deceased service members, Lamberth granted $8 million to spouses, $5 million to parents, $2.5 million to siblings, and $3 million to children. These figures were halved when the bombing victim was injured rather than killed.

"The court applauds plaintiffs' persistent efforts to hold Iran accountable for its cowardly support of terrorism. The court concludes that defendant Iran must be punished to the fullest extent legally possible for the bombing in Beirut on October 23, 1983. This horrific act harmed countless individuals and their families, a number of whom receive awards in this lawsuit. This court hopes that the victims and their families may find some measure of solace from this final judgment," Lamberth said.

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