(CNN)The Supreme Court agreed Thursday to take up an appeal from Bank Markazi, the Central Bank of Iran, of a lower court decision ordering the bank to turn over nearly $2 billion worth of bonds held in New York to victims of terrorism.
Supreme Court takes appeal in Iran terrorism case
More than 1,300 Americans, who are surviving family members or victims of terrorist attacks, have been seeking Iranian assets for damages that injured them or took the lives of their loved ones. Lance Cpl James C. Knipple of Alexandria, Virginia, was killed in the Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing in 1983. His sister, Deborah Peterson is one of the plaintiffs in the case. In 2008 they learned of Iranian assets at the Citibank in New York and went to court to have the assets restrained.
In 2014 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of Peterson and the other plaintiffs holding the bond assets were subject to turnover.
The case comes at a sensitive time in U.S.-Iran relations and the Obama administration had urged the Court not to step in and take up the appeal.
In Court papers, lawyers for the Bank of Markazi argue in part that Congress overstepped its power by passing a law in 2012 that targeted the case and effectively told the Court how it should rule.