For the nearly two years that Americans were held hostage in Teheran, United States courts presided over complex litigation brought to wrest assets from the revolutionary government of Iran. The litigants were varied and powerful: United States banks and corporations, Iranian banks and commercial ventures, and the governments of both the United States and Iran. On any given issue, unexpected coalitions of interests formed among the litigants. While the United States and Iran hurled insults at each other for months, lawyers for those governments were nearly always in accord on major issues raised in United States courts. And, while United States banks-were prominent plaintiffs, they were, in fact, not wholly hostile to the Iranian defendants. Moreover, despite the litigation's simple focus-money--difficult issues demanded litigants' attention, issues that eventually required extraordinary review by the Supreme Court. This Article examines chronologically the role of the Iranian assets litigation in the broader resolution of the Iranian crisis. It considers in particular novel issues of procedure, unique substantive rulings, and the remarkably congruent interests of the United States government, the Iranian government, and the banking plaintiffs.
Jeremiah D. Lambert & William D. Coston,
Friendly Foes in the Iranian Assets Litigation,
Yale J. Int'l L.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjil/vol7/iss1/5