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updated: 3/28/2014 11:43 AM

Chicago museum items can't be seized to pay Iran judgment

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Associated Press

A federal judge in Chicago says survivors of a 1997 terrorist attack blamed partly on Iran can't seize museum pieces in U.S. collections to help pay a $412 million judgment against Iran.

Judge Robert Gettleman's ruling Friday stems from a long-running legal battle that museum officials elsewhere watching closely. They feared their own collections could be put at risk if Gettleman had allowed collections of Persian antiquities at Chicago's Field Museum and the University of Chicago to be seized.

Survivors of the suicide bombing in Jerusalem sued Iran's government, accusing it of being complicit. A Washington, D.C., court awarded that judgment.

The legal fight navigated several issues, including sovereign immunity and terrorism laws.

Among Gettleman's findings was that there was no evidence Iran's government claimed ownership of the collections.

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