(CN) – 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.Regular readers of PaleoJudacia will remember this case, which involves ancient Iranian artifacts held by the Oriental Institute. It has been going on for a long time.
The high court’s decision will resolve a circuit 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.
The artifacts include about 30,000 clay tablets of some of the oldest writings in the world, which Iran loaned to the Institute in 1937, known as the Persepolis Collection.The most recent previous development of the legal case of which I am aware was in 2014 (see here. Follow the link there for past posts on the legal case, my own comments on it, and past posts on the Persepolis Fortification Archive. For more recent posts on Persepolis and this archive, start here and follow the links. The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project Blog notes the latest developments here
Also at issue are Dr. Ernst Herzfeld’s collection of about 1,200 prehistoric artifacts found in Persia in the early 1900s, which the Field Museum bought in 1945, as well as clay seal impressions from the ancient Chogha Mish settlement, which the Institute acquired in the 1960s.
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