0548 GMT March 17, 2018
The country’s highest court unanimously upheld a federal appeals court’s decision in favor of Iran that had prevented the plaintiffs from obtaining Persian antiquities held at the University of Chicago and Chicago’s Field Museum.
The case required the Supreme Court to determine what assets qualify for seizure under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a federal law that governs when foreign entities can be sued in US courts.
Ali Asghar Mounesan, the Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) said that, “Consequently, the ICHTO, in consultation with the Foreign Ministry and the Legal Department of the President’s Office, held several meetings with the Supreme National Security Council and finally recruited a native lawyer to pursue the case”, Fars News Agency reported.
He added that Iran’s lawyer in the Chicago court filed a case on Iran’s opposition to the seizure of Achaemenid artefacts and the Islamic Republic formally entered the judicial process of returning the clay tablets and fragments.
“Our attorneys appealed to the Supreme Court’s ruling and fortunately with their efforts the US Supreme Court ruled that American defendants cannot seize the artefacts from the Chicago museum as compensation.”
Mounesan said that this is a very big achievement and a great victory for Iran, which is the result of diplomatic and legal efforts made by the Islamic Republic’s government. He noted that after years of struggle this 84-year-old problem was resolved to bring back the Iranian Achaemenid tablets.
In 2006, a group of victims of a 1997 explosion at a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem (al-Quds) were awarded $71 million by a federal judge in Chicago.
The attack, which killed five people and injured 200, was claimed by the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas.
But the judge ruled that the money should be collected from Iran for its support of Hamas and allowed the plaintiffs to search for any and all Iranian assets in the United States to pay for the judgment, Press TV wrote.
The plaintiffs, who are mainly Jewish Americans, argue that Iran must pay reparations as it supports Hamas.
However, the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals later reversed the 2006 judgment, ruling in favor of Iran and the University of Chicago in 2011 and again in 2014.
Iran has been a victim of baseless claims of support for terrorism, backed mostly by Zionists in the US and Israel.
The Supreme Court ruling put an end to the long-running legal battle.
University of Chicago spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus said the ruling “reaffirms the university’s continuing efforts to preserve and protect this cultural heritage.”
The artifacts, including at least 30,000 clay tablets and fragments with some of the oldest writings in the world, are kept at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History and the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.
The artifacts were loaned by Iran to the University of Chicago in 1937.
The Persepolis Fortification Archive and Persepolis Treasury Archive are two groups of clay administrative archives found in Persepolis dating to the Achaemenid Persian Empire. The discovery was made during legal excavations conducted by the archaeologists from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in the 1930s.
IFP Press TV