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ARGUED OCTOBER 26,2009

Before BAUER and SYKES, Circuit Judges, and SIMON, District Judge.*fn1

The Islamic Republic of Iran appeals two orders issued in connection with a long-running effort to collect on a large judgment entered against it for its role in a 1997 terrorist attack. The plaintiffs are American citizens who were injured in a brutal suicide bombing in Jerusalem, Israel, carried out by Hamas with the assistance of Iranian material sup-port and training. The victims obtained a $71 million default judgment against Iran in federal district court in Washington, D.C., and then registered that judgment in the Northern District of Illinois for the purpose of attaching two collections of Persian antiquities owned by Iran but on long-term academic loan to the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute. They also sought to attach a third collection of Persian artifacts owned by Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. They contend that this collection, too, belongs to Iran but was stolen and smuggled out of the country in the 1920s or 1930s and later sold to the museum. Iran’s appeal requires us to consider the scope and operation of § 1609 of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (“FSIA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1330(a), 1602-1611, which provides that a foreign state’s property in the United States is immune from attachment unless a specific statutory exception to immunity applies.

 
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