Frontiers of Law, Political Science and Art

Roundabout seizures in the law of the Iran-United States claims tribunal


Jason Von Meding

The country of Iran was a powder keg of social unrest in the late 1970’s as the regime of Shah, backed by United States, was on the brink of collapse. The world looked on as the government collapsed and the Islamic regime took over. Part of the new regime’s anti-American strategy was to freeze all U.S. assets in Iran, as well as takeover western businesses. Investors were left with no recourse and massive losses. It was not until the government of Algeria became involved through international mediation that the United States and Iran began indirect negotiations to resolve these issues. The Algiers Declarations established a tribunal to resolve both claims from United States nationals against Iranians and vice versa. By far, the most controversial portion of this tribunal was the indirect expropriations decisions, which through analysis and understanding of such cases are found to be both inconsistent and unpredictable. This 30 year old situation is quite revealing into what may happen in other Middle Eastern countries with the collapse of governments from Tunisia to Egypt.


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