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Encyclopedia > Chicago's Persian heritage crisis
 This article documents a current event.
Information may change rapidly as the event progresses.

Chicago's Persian heritage crisis (تاراج سرمايه باستانی ايران در شيکاگو in Persian) refers to a threat to seize invaluable Persian antiquities kept at the University of Chicago by the United States federal courts and also a threat to numerous other Persian antiquities kept in the Field museum in Chicago. It has been seen by Iranians as an example for the hostility of United States federal court system toward Iranian people and Persian heritage.[1] Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Persian is an Indo-European language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. ... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. ... The United States federal courts are the system of courts organized under the Constitution and laws of the federal government of the United States. ... Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago The Field Museum of Natural History, in Chicago, Illinois, USA, sits on Lake Shore Drive next to Lake Michigan, part of a scenic complex known as Museum Campus Chicago. ...

Contents


Background

In 2003, a group of victims of a September 4, 1997 Iranian-linked explosion in Israel (a suicide bombing in Ben Yehuda mall in Jerusalem) won $71 million in a judgment in a U.S. court against Iran,[2] [3] for being a state sponsor of terrorism.[4] Hamas had claimed responsibility for the attack, so some American visitors filed the federal lawsuit against Iran and Iranian officials, claiming that Hamas was financed by Iran, making the country legally responsible for their suffering.[4] The case is formally called Jenny Rubin, et al vs. the Islamic Republic of Iran, et al.[4] On February 4, 1948, as the conflict over the coming partition of Palestine grew, three car bombs arranged by Arab irregulars exploded on Ben Yehuda Street, a main avenue in Jewish Jerusalem, killing 52 Jewish civilians and leaving 123 injured. ... Jerusalem (Hebrew: Yerushalayim; Arabic: al-Quds; Greek Ιεροσόλυμα; Latin: Hierosolyma) is an ancient Middle Eastern city on the watershed between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea at an elevation of 650-840 metres (about 2000-2500 feet). ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...


After Iran ignored the judgment, Judge Ricardo M. Urbina issued a default judgment for the plaintiffs, awarding them $423.5 million in damages.[4] The American victims then went after Iranian-owned objects held by U.S. museums.[2] David J. Strachman, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said collectors are interested in the antiquities, potentially for tens of millions of dollars.[2] [3] Default judgment is a binding judgment in favor of the plaintiff when the defendant has not responded to a summons or has failed to appear before a court. ...


The university had argued sovereign immunity, i.e, under federal law, "certain property owned by foreign governments is protected from court judgments."[2] The university was arguing that on Iran's behalf, saying that "the Iranians were gun-shy because of bad experiences with the American legal system."[4] The victims characterized the university and other institutions as defending Iran.[2] Sovereign immunity or crown immunity is a type of immunity that, in common law jurisdictions traces its origins from early English law. ...


Ruling

In June 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Blanche M. Manning ruled that only Iran, which has not acknowledged the suit, can claim its own rights.[2] Manning said that the university's "brazen accusation that the courts of the United States are hostile to Iran and that, as a result, Iran should be excused from bothering to assert its rights, is wholly unsupported."[4]


The university however, in light of the new ruling, has argued that seizing the tablets would frighten foreign museums away from loans to U.S. institutions, and that U.S.-owned objects overseas might also be seized.[2] [3]


Background on University of Chicago's artifacts

The Achaemenid tablets were loaned to the University of Chicago in 1937.[5] They were discovered by archaeologists in 1933 and are legally the property of the National Museum of Iran and the Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization.[2] [3] The tablets, from Persepolis, the capital of the Persian Empire, date to about 500 B.C.[2] [5] Achaemenid Empire The Achaemenid Dynasty was a dynasty in the ancient Persian Empire, including Cyrus II the Great, Darius I and Xerxes I. At the height of their power, the Achaemenid rulers of Persia ruled over territories roughly emcompassing some parts of todays Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. ... Entrance of the National Museum of Iran, the vault is built in the style of Persias Sassanid vaults The National Museum of Iran (in Persian: موزه ایران باستان Muze-ye Irân-e Bâstân) is an archeological and historical museum located in Tehran. ... Iran Cultural Heritage Organization (سازمان میراث فرهنگی) is an educational and research institution overseeing numerous associated museum complexes throughout Iran. ... Persepolis Aerial View - After 2500 years, the ruins of Persepolis still inspire visitors from far and near. ...


The university's Oriental Institute had been returning them to Iran in small batches.[2] [3] [5] The Oriental Institute (OI) is the University of Chicagos archeology museum and research center for ancient Near Eastern studies. ...


The tablets give a view of daily life, with things like daily rations of barley that were given to workers in nearby regions of the empire. These tablets were sent to the capital to keep track of how they were paying workers.[2] Charles Jones, Research Associate and Librarian at the Oriental Institute and tablet expert compared them to "credit card receipts."[5]


Field Museum case

The case of Chicago's Field Museum is however different. It faces a similar lawsuit, but argues that its Persian collection was bought on the open market and is not owned by Iran.[2] [3] Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago The Field Museum of Natural History, in Chicago, Illinois, USA, sits on Lake Shore Drive next to Lake Michigan, part of a scenic complex known as Museum Campus Chicago. ...


Similar cases of antiques of other countries

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The J. Paul Getty Museum hold several Italian antiques. In 2006 The Metropolitan Museum of Arts committed to return these invaluable pieces to Italy.[4] [1] The central lobby of the museum The Metropolitan Museum of Art, often referred to simply as The Met, is one of the worlds largest and most important art museums, located on the eastern edge of Central Park in Manhattan, New York, United States. ... A building at the Getty Center, seen from the Central Garden The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, is the current home of the J. Paul Getty Museum as well as a research institute, conservation institute, grant program, and leadership institute. ...


Larger international impact

According to the UNESCO convention on "Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property", transfer of ownership of any and all Persian antiques is illegal.[6] UNESCO logo UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. ...


US government position

The executive branch of the US government, in particular the US State Department have been supportive of the University of Chicago in this case.[citation needed] The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. ...


As in several other cases involving U.S. citizens and foreign nations, the United States Department of Justice argued that national interest is better served if such disputes are resolved through diplomatic negotiations rather than legal suit.[4] Poking fun at the United States government, Manning wrote that "[t]he government relegates the [key] argument to a footnote."[4] Justice Department redirects here. ... The national interest, often referred to by the French term raison détat, is a countrys goals and ambitions whether economic, military, or cultural. ...


Iranian response

In July 2006, Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs, warned that "if the US denies Iran's right to its properties and assets to satisfy judgments by some of its court, Tehran will reciprocate the action."[1] Manouchehr Mottaki (In Persian: منوچهر متکی) is the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Iran) appointed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. ... The first Minister of Foreign Affairs (or Foreign Minister) of Iran was Mirza Abdolvahhab Khan Motamed od-Dowleh Neshat who served between 1819 and 1824. ...


Mottaki said "one of Americans' usual propaganda ploys is raising claims at the US courts based on the country's civil laws, which is contrary to the international law."[1] He said that Iran had adopted a similar law in 1999.[1] This has resulted in complaints against the United States for such things as its role in Operation Ajax and the Iran-Iraq War.[1] So far, three billion dollars in penalties have been issued against the US government.[1] Soldiers surround the Parliament building in Tehran on August 19, 1953. ... Combatants Iran Iraq Commanders Ayatollah Khomeini Saddam Hussein Ali Hassan al-Majid Strength 100,000+ (Plus Civilians, Militias) 100,000+ (Plus Civilians, Militias) Casualties Est. ...


Mottaki says that Iran would follow up the case with UNESCO.[1]


References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Iran warns of reciprocation if US denies assets", 2006-07-01. Retrieved on 2006-07-27.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Herrmann, Andrew, "Victims claim win in fight for U. of C. tablets", Chicago Sun-Times, 2006-06-27. Retrieved on 2006-07-27.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Iranian Antiquities May Be Seized in Suit", 2006-06-28. Retrieved on 2006-07-27.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Grossman, Ron, "Persian treasure trove on the line at U. of C.", Chicago Tribune, 2006-06-28. Retrieved on 2006-07-27. (requires registration)
  5. ^ a b c d "University of Chicago returns ancient Persian tablets loaned by Iran", 2004-04-29. Retrieved on 2006-07-27.
  6. ^ Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. UNESCO (1970-11-17). Retrieved on 2006-07-27.

2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 1 is the 182nd day of the year (183rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 183 days remaining. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... New Chicago Sun-Times home located at 350 N. Orleans St. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 27 is the 178th day of the year (179th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 187 days remaining. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 28 is the 179th day of the year (180th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 186 days remaining. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... The Chicago Tribune, formerly self-styled as the Worlds Greatest Newspaper, remains one of the principal daily newspapers of the midwestern United States. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... June 28 is the 179th day of the year (180th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 186 days remaining. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... April 29 is the 119th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (120th in leap years). ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ... UNESCO logo UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established in 1945. ... 2006 (MMVI) is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... July 27 is the 208th day (209th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 157 days remaining. ...

See also

Teddy Bear with Nuke Iran T-Shirt. ...

External links


 
 

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