Iran General NewsIranian antiquities may be seized in suit

Iranian antiquities may be seized in suit

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UPI: A federal judge has ruled the University of Chicago cannot protect Iran’s ownership rights to a collection of Persian antiquities. United Press International

CHICAGO, June 27 (UPI) — A federal judge has ruled the University of Chicago cannot protect Iran’s ownership rights to a collection of Persian antiquities.

U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning’s ruling means a group of people injured by a terrorist bombing in Israel can seize the tablets from Persepolis, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. They sued Iran in the United States and won a $71 million judgment.

Lawyer David Strachman, who represents the plaintiffs, said collectors are interested in the antiquities.

The tablets were discovered by Chicago archaeologists in the 1930s and are legally the property of the National Museum of Iran and the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization. The university’s Oriental Institute had been returning them to Iran in small batches.

The university argued seizing the tablets would frighten foreign museums away from loans to U.S. institutions. U.S.-owned objects overseas might also be seized.

Chicago’s Field Museum faces a similar lawsuit but argues that its Persian collection was bought on the open market and is not owned by Iran.

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