Supreme Court to Decide Case on Seizing Iranian Artifacts

(University of Chicago)

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether Americans injured in a 1997 Hamas suicide bombing can seize Iranian artifacts from the University of Chicago to satisfy a $71 million judgment, reports Courthouse New Service.

Injured Americans in the Hamas attack on a Jerusalem mall were awarded a $71.5 million default judgment that Iran never paid. A circuit court was "split over whether U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism have a freestanding right to collect on judgments against foreign countries, even if the targeted assets would be otherwise protected by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, or FSIA," reports CNS.

Four collections of Iranian artifacts that have been held by the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and the city’s Field Museum of Natural History have been drawn into the case.

Among the artifacts are clay tablets, some of the oldest writings in the world, which Iran loaned to the Institute in 1937, known as the Persepolis Collection.

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