US Court: Israeli plaintiffs cannot take control over Iran’s ccTLDs

In a decision issued this week, the US appeals court for the District of Columbia rejected the claim of a group of Israeli plaintiffs that sought to take control over .ir – Iran’s country code top level domain (ccTLD). Claiming that Iran was responsible for the deaths of their family members in a 1996 bus bombing, the group sued ICANN to turn over .ir to them, as damages compensation. Although ICANN won in a first instance, the group filed an appeal. In refusing to allow the group to take over the ccTLD, the appeals court explained that a transfer of the domain would have impaired ’the enormous third-party interests at stake’ (i.e. the current registrants of .ir domain names). The court also argued that a forced delegation of .ir would impair ICANN’s interest in protecting the stability and interoperability of the DNS.