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Iran Press TV

Saudi 9/11 legislation hits roadblock in US Congress

Iran Press TV

Wed Apr 20, 2016 2:19PM

Legislation allowing Americans to hold the Saudi ruling family accountable in US courts for any role in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has encountered significant obstacles in the US Congress.

The bill, proposed by Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer and Republican John Cornyn, if passed, would take away immunity from foreign governments in cases "arising from a terrorist attack that kills an American on American soil."

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a co-sponsor of the legislation, on Tuesday announced that he had placed a hold on it, despite the willingness of some Democratic senators to defy President Barack Obama, who has indicated that he would veto the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act."

Meanwhile, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan publicly voiced concerns about the bill, dramatically slowing the momentum for it in the House of Representatives.

The Republican moves could boost the Obama administration, which has struggled to convince lawmakers that the bill could put Americans at legal risk overseas if other nations were to pass reciprocal laws that remove foreign immunity in their courts, and damage relations with Saudi Arabia.

The White House praised Republican legislators for not pushing for the bill.

"I was gratified to see Speaker Ryan indicate his shared concern about the potential unintended consequences of this bill," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday.

"We're obviously gratified that there are other Republicans who have taken a close look at this legislation," he added.

Meanwhile, several Democrats indicated on Tuesday that they are willing to support the legislation despite strong opposition from the White House.

"I support it, and most everyone in the caucus supports it," Minority Leader Harry Reid told reporters. "I think we should move forward on this legislation."

Senator Schumer acknowledged that President Obama probably is not "on board."

"These families lost loved ones through terrorism. If the Saudis were complicit – if the Saudi government was complicit in that terrorism – they should pay the price," he said.

"I don't know what [Obama's] analysis is based on, but I think this is an appropriate change in the law," Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said.

The September, 11, 2001 attacks, also known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists – 15 of them were Saudi citizens -- but many independent researchers have raised questions about the official account.

They believe that rogue elements within the US government orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.

Analysts argue that Saudi Arabia only played a minor role in 9/11, but the operation was essentially carried out by Israeli and American intelligence agencies to destroy the seven countries in five years, that were enemies or threats to the Zionist regime.

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