A US district court has ordered Japan to freeze Iranian assets as a legal action against Tehran’s alleged involvement in the 1938 bomb attack on US marines in Lebanon.

The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan’s biggest bank and the core bank of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, handles 80% of accounts involving trade with Iran.

BTMU submitted an objection to New York stating that it does not have jurisdiction over assets held in Japan. The order came amidst the important oil-relations between Japan and Iran that are crucial to potential power shortages after Japan went nuclear-power free.

Along with freezing Iranian assets, the US also called for cutting Iranian oil imports as part of international efforts to pressure Tehran for its nuclear programmes.

The US court is asking Tehran for $2.6 billion in compensation for the survivors and families among the 241 victims killed in the 1938 attack and has decided to freeze its assets. The US will also impose sanctions on banks handling Iranian imports if their country has not “significantly reduced” their oil imports from Iran.