History in limbo

Legal dance on Persepolis artifacts continues


History in limbo
by Arash Hadjialiloo

Washington DC - For the past few months, the legal proceedings surrounding the sale of Persian artifacts on loan to American museums and universities had remained mostly dormant. That is, until, revelations occurred on three separate fronts of the issue. In the case of the Northern Illinois case Rubin et al. v IRI, two very separate developments have occurred. On March 29, new plaintiffs emerged seeking the clay tablets from Persepolis which are already targeted by the victims of a 1997 Jerusalem attack, Rubin et al. these additional plaintiffs want to lay claim to the artifacts so as to sell them and receive payment for a $2.7 billion decision in their favor.


According to reports, families of the victims of the 1983 marine barracks bombing in Beirut have sued Iran using the same Iran-terrorist link as the aforementioned claimants. As Iran is marked as a state sponsor of terror by the United States government, it is not protected by sovereign immunity, an international standard that protects governments from lawsuits in other nations' courts. The new plaintiffs, like the previous ones, have said that they wish to have the rights to sell the artifacts to museums and universities as opposed to opening the potential sale to private parties. The fate of the tablets, valued at several thousand dollars apiece will be determined by U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning who said she would decide on the two claims separately.

The second decision dealing with Persian artifacts involves a March 31 ruling from a Massachusetts District Court in which the artifacts held by Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have been sought for sale in aid of execution of a judgment. This case differs from the Illinois case (in which NIAC is providing an amicus curiae brief) because the Iranian government has not claimed ownership of the Massachusetts artifacts. This decision is an interlocutory or temporary judgment which is a similar to a legal placeholder, a checkpoint before a finalized ruling is made. Interlocutory judgments are traditionally not open to appeal but it rare cases, such as this one, it is possible for the defendants to appeal. Reports show that the museum and university have filed for appeal. The appeals court has yet to reach a decision on this matter.

The long-term implications of these developments remain uncertain and a final resolution remains distant.  

Arash Hadjialiloo is an intern at the National iranian American Council.



You know, I really wish the

by Anon123 (not verified) on

You know, I really wish the regime was a bit more nationalistic.

Ari Siletz

Persia = Iran

by Ari Siletz on

This disaster with the Achaemenid artifacts, the Google Persian Gulf affair, and the movie 300 should clue in "Persians not Iranians"  that US aggresivensess towards our nation goes beyond her issues with the Islamic Republic. The looting of Iraqi museums shows that the American military wouldn't think twice about wiping our Persian heritage off the map. Please help stop a US war with Iran. 


Class Action

by Anonymous Iranian (not verified) on

I was wondering if some legal eagle out there could comment on something for us. Is it possible for us to sign on to a class action lawsuit against the supreme court? Seeing how these items are indeed national heritage artifacts and belong to all Iranians, they infact belong to the people of Iran and not its government. Can we use that venue to get an injunction?


Makes me so angry

by ToofanZeGreat on

They know well how to make more enemies. Most of these court cases where Iran gets acused of bombings, ranging from Buenos Aires to Beirut and Jerusalem are one way trials with very thin proof that Iran was behind the bombings, and no proper defence for Irans case.

The US blows an Iranian Jet out of the sky, kills 286 Iranians, and pays them 11 thousand dollars each while at the same time, promoting the Captian of the vessel that did it with medals and blow jobs, not to mention the massive support to Saddam that was a pro genocider against the Iranians.

But Americans, being the superior race of people, must naturally, together with their Jewish friends have compensation of several billions, including the history of our country when a group supported by the Iranian gov (not the people), acts in its own name and bombs a military barracks in a country where the US has no fucking business in the first place. Screw the US and their mentality, cant wait to see the it collapse like the Soviet state did. A recession is mild to what the US is in dire need of.