Harvard wins legal battle against terror victimsMarch 18, 2013
In 2003, victims of an Iranian-sponsored terrorist attack were awarded a multi-million dollar judgment, but have yet to be compensated by Iran. When the victims sought proceeds from Iranian artefacts kept by museums in Massachussetts, Harvard and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts balked. In a recent decision, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the museums.
Both sides made good arguments in this case, and the museums have legitimately argued that the pieces are not “owned” by Iran, and Iran never claimed to own them.
But one wonders whether the museums could have worked out an arrangement with the plaintiffs to compensate them with a portion of ticket sales based on the commercial benefits of the Iranian antiquities, rather than battling the victims in federal court.
Critics of Iran have previously called for the seizure or liquidation of Iranian property in the U.S. to compensate the victims of Iranian-backed terrorist attacks.