- TEHRAN (FNA)- Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister purportedly informed the lawmakers during a trip to Washington that the country would be forced to sell a huge chunk of American financial assets on the world market, fearing the legislation could become law and US courts would then freeze the assets.
The warning was delivered by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir last month during a visit to Washington, as he said the country would sell up to $750 billion in US treasury securities and other assets before the bill puts them in jeopardy, news website Frontlinedesk.com reported.
However US media questioned the Riyadh’s resolve to actually deliver on the threat, since selling off those assets would be technically challenging and would damage the dollar, against which the Saudi national currency is pegged.
Under the current US law, foreign nations have a degree of immunity from being sued in American courts. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 is one of the reasons why families of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks largely failed to bring to court the Saudi royal family and charities over suspicion of financially supporting the attacks.
The bill introduced in the Senate would waiver the immunity for cases involving terrorist attacks that kill US citizens on US soil. Introduced by Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, it managed to overcome partisan divisions in the US legislation and passed without dissent through the Judiciary Committee in January.
Frontline Desk website added that the threat by Saudis has surfaced as the Saudi military is flying jets and dropping bombs it bought from the United States as part of the billions of dollars in arms deals that have been negotiated with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations during the Obama administration.
The Obama administration has, in turn, applied heavy pressure on Congress to block the bill.
A spokesman for the Saudi embassy did not return a message seeking comment.
In September a USA judge dismissed claims against Saudi Arabia by families of victims of the attacks, saying that the kingdom had sovereign immunity from damage claims by the families and from insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses. But even without the classified documents, the role of Saudi Arabia in the attacks is clear.
Additionally, the 9/11 Commission found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization”. Twenty-eight unpublished pages from the Commission report, however, are suspected to contain evidence implicating Saudi Arabia and more details on their involvement. President Barack Obama could still release those documents.
The Obama administration, warning it could lead to legal retaliations by other countries, has been trying to stop Congress from passing the bill.
Apart from the hijackers, Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a US raid on his lair in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011, was also of Saudi origin.