A Japanese bank has halted transactions by the Iranian government after a US court ordered a $2.6 billion asset freeze over the 1983 bombing of US barracks in Beirut, a bank spokesman said on Thursday.
"It is true that we have received the order from the US court," to freeze $2.6 billion of assets, a spokesman for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ told AFP, declining to give details on the value of Iranian holdings at the bank.
The court order reflects "the amount that the court in 2007upheld for compensation demands by families of victims of the 1983 attacks on US forces in Beirut," he said.
The bank lodged an appeal against the US court order on Thursday, he said.
"One of the reasons for the appeal is that the US court has ordered a freeze on assets in accounts not only in the United States but also in Japan, which is problematic under Japanese law," the spokesman said.
"We cannot comment on how much or whose assets related to Iran are in the bank's accounts," he added, while admitting that the bank "handles a relatively large number of transactions for trade with Iran."
On October 23, 1983, a 19-tonne explosives-laden truck rammed through barricades and detonated in front of the US barracks in the Lebanese capital, killing 241 US soldiers.
As part of the same wave of attacks, a French barracks was also bombed, killing 58 French paratroopers.
Tehran denies responsibility for the attacks, but Washington subsequently named Iran on the list of terrorism-supporting states.
A 2007 court ruling in the US ordered Iran to pay $2.65 billion to victims' families.