A federal appeals court ruled that Amir Oveissi's legal claims for wrongful death and the intentional infliction of emotional distress against Iran and its Ministry of Information and Security ('MOIS,' or 'VEVAK' in Farsi) must be considered under French law, allowing him to potentially hold the country and its security apparatus liable for his grandfather Gholam Oveissi's 1984 assassination of in Paris, France.
Gholam Oveissi was a four-star general and Chief of Iran's Armed Forces under the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. At Iran's direction, the Iranian-trained and funded Hezbollah terrorist group assassinated Amir Oveissi's grandfather while operating under the nom-de-guerre "Islamic Jihad."
While the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ('FSIA') grants foreign countries immunity from being sued under, the federal law also makes an exception for state-sponsored terrorism, allowing plaintiffs to seek damages.
You can read Oveissi's 2003 amended complaint against Iran here:
Although Iran and VEVAK never responded to or answered the lawsuit, so a bench trial was held for Oveissi to prove his case to the judge.
U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth made a written decision in favor of Oveissi after trial, including the following findings of fact:
You can read the U.S. District Court's 2003 decision here:
The District Court held that Oveissi could not sue Iran and MOIS for the intentional inflction of emotional distress under California law, where he was born, and dismissed the suit.
The Court of Appeals reversed that ruling in its new decision, holding that because his grandfather was not an American, and that "if any country was the object of the [terrorist] attack, it was France," and sent the case back to the lower court to apply French law to the plaintiff's legal claims
Here is the Court of Appeals July 28, 2009 ruling letting Amir Oveissi continue pursuing his claims against Iran and the MOIS using French law: