U.S. court prevents seizure of Iranian relics as restitution for terror victims

Victims of a 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem cannot seize Persian antiquities on display in the United States as restitution, a federal judge ruled.

In his decision on March 28, Judge Robert Gettleman of the U.S. District Court in Chicago said the victims’ families could not seize the items on loan to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, since it was unclear whether the Iranian government owned the items, and that artifacts at the Oriental Institute were loaned for scholarship, not commercial intentions, according to the Associated Press.

Iran was ordered to pay $412 million in restitution, AP reported. The Iranian-backed and funded Hamas terror organization claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed five and injured 200.

Other U.S. museums watched the ruling closely, worried that a ruling for the victims would endanger museum collections throughout the country.

The victims likely will appeal, AP reported. — jta