US Court to Hear Dispute over Seizing Iran’s Artifacts
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The US Supreme Court agreed to decide on a controversial legal battle over whether Persian artifacts in Chicago museums can be seized as compensation for victims of a terror attack in Israel, media reports said.
The court will have the final word in the more than decade-long saga between Iran and five US citizens, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.
The case stems from a 1997 suicide bombing in al-Quds (Jerusalem) that is claimed to be carried out by Hamas.
Five US citizens injured in the attack won a $71.5 million civil judgment against Iran because it provided material support and training to Hamas.
Among the artifacts were a collection of 2,500-year-old clay tablets bearing ancient cuneiform script which have been in the care of the University of Chicago since the 1930s.
The victims also sought to seize a collection of artifacts at the Field Museum which were purchased in 1945 from German archeologist Ernst Herzfeld.
Iran does not claim ownership of the collection, but the victims have argued that they do in fact belong to Iran because Herzfeld stole them and smuggled them out of the country.
The issue will be heard by the US Supreme Court in its next annual session beginning in October.