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One Father’s Bittersweet Reckoning With Iran on Memorial Day

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Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment place American flags on each grave at Arlington National Cemetery ahead of Memorail Day (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment place American flags on each grave at Arlington National Cemetery ahead of Memorial Day (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

One bereaved father received a modicum of justice for his son’s death on Memorial Day.

Blackie Trahan was awarded $50 million in Iranian funds after losing his son and only child Lex, a Marine, in the barracks bombing in Beirut on October 23, 1983.

The attack took the lives of 307 people, including 241 U.S. and 58 French military personnel who were members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon.

Trahan, from Lafayette, Louisiana, sued the Iranian government after a federal judge ruled in 2003 that Iran directed the attack and the families of victims were allowed to sue the Iranian government for damages.

The Supreme Court later allowed the families to collect $1.75 billion in Iranian funds.

The attack was carried out by two suicide bombers, one who drove an explosives-laden truck into the service building (the American barracks) and another who drove a truck into the nine-story Drakkar building a few kilometers away, where the French contingent was stationed.

In addition to the deaths, 115 were wounded in the attack.

Although a group called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombings, there is ample evidence that the attack was carried out by the Iranian-proxy terror group Hezbollah and directed by Iran. Syria is also suspected of involvement in the attack.

On Memorial Day, a federal judge ordered the payment to Corporal Lex Trahan’s family.

“He was not supposed to be sent to combat being an only child, there’s an exception. So he called and pleaded with his parents, to tell the Marines to allow him to go with his company, who reluctantly agreed,” said Trahan’s attorney Warren Perrin speaking to KATC news channel.

“Fortunately the federal judge saw that the Trahan’s and many other families deserved compensation for the loss of their loved ones.”

Perrin said he was confident the families would receive annual installments.

Perrin explained that the money would come from two sources: One is from a fund that has already been designated to pay victims of terrorist attacks. The money in the fund comes from fines assessed against banks and governments that break international law.

The second source consists of $1 billion in Iranian assets that were seized and are currently being held by a company in Luxembourg.

Payments from this second fund need to be freed by Congress. Perrin says that Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA) has offered his assistance in getting a bill passed to release the funds.

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