By Jamshid S. Irani, Attorney at Law
The recent ruling by Judge Manning of the United States District Court in Chicago on July 26, 2007 once again brings us back to the disheartening and disgraceful memories of one September day in 1997. Although the underlying terrorism case has been proceeding its routine legal process, such rulings put a stab in the heart and spirit of a nation which has tried to alienate itself from such accusations against its government. The pending case revolves on a $409 million default judgment. The question is whether a nation should pay for alleged terrorism charges/activities of its government and when that government ignores or defies the rule, it, the nation, should be punished.
undersigned drafted and submitted a petition, signed by more
than 1,200 Iranians and Iranian-Americans, to Judge Manning on August 3, 2006.
It was submitted in support of briefs filed by the
having immigrated to the
A judgment authorizing the plaintiff to auction off such national belongings to compensate for their right damages will set an incorrect precedent in the international community. As Sir Philip Francis once said in 1769 "one precedent creates another. They soon accumulate and constitute law. What yesterday was fact, today is doctrine". By auctioning off of these ancient tablets, we are putting a price on history, on life, and most of all, on a past culture. These tablets do not belong to the Iranian government but to the world as well. As Americans, principal defenders of a nation's right to its heritage, it is critical to preserve 2500 years of knowledge of early Persian civilization for present research and for the future generations.
We truly and deeply sympathize with the victims/plaintiffs in this case and believe they are entitled to a fair and just compensation, however, imagine if the items at issue here were two of the most important symbols of American pride instead of another country's tablets. What if, on loan to another country, a foreign court ordered auctioning off of Liberty Bell or the Declaration of Independence to the highest bidder to compensate for a personal injury judgment? Wouldn't we want our own priceless items, documents and relics preserved and protected in a similar case? Wouldn't we want a foreign court to uphold our rights to history and to our own identity?
Dear Judge Manning, the brevity of this petition will in no way be able to convey the true sad feelings of the Iranian people. These tablets are dear to the hearts of the Iranian people. We must not allow the heart of the Iranian culture to be sold off to the highest bidder. I pray that you will reconsider your decision and re-evaluate the depth of this case so that the plaintiffs will be compensated for their damages through different resources.
also encourage the Iranian government, in light of recent meetings with the
Attorney at Law
Tel: (212) 683-7700
... Payvand News - 8/2/07 ... --