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Peterson v. Islamic Repub. of Iran, No. 08-17756

Iran Immune from Judgment Enforcement Under FSIA

In Peterson v. Islamic Repub. of Iran, No. 08-17756, plaintiffs' appeal from the district court's order denying plaintiffs' motion to assign the rights of a French debtor of Iran to plaintiffs, on the basis that Iran's rights to payment from the debtor were immune under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), the court affirmed where 1) the court could not require a defendant to affirmatively plead foreign sovereign immunity from suit, since a court must decide immunity even if a defendant does not appear; and 2) Iran's rights to payment from the debtor did not constitute "property in the United States" under 28 U.S.C. section 1610(a).


As the court wrote:  "Plaintiffs obtained a default judgment against Iran for $2,656,944,877. When it became clear that Iran was not going to comply with the judgment, plaintiffs moved the district court to order Iran to assign to the plaintiffs, as judgment creditors, Iran's rights to payment from CMA CGM. CMA CGM is a French shipping company that allegedly frequents Iranian ports and pays Iran for use of its harbors and for providing its ships with bunkering oil."

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