Iran-United States Claims Tribunal

The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal is an international arbitral tribunal established out of an agreement between Iran and the United States, under an understanding known as the Algiers Accords of January 19 1981. The Algiers Accords were the outcome of negotiations between Iran and the United States, mediated by Algeria, to resolve a hostage crisis. In exchange for the release of the hostages by Iran, the United States agreed to unfreeze Iranian assets. The tribunal was established to resolve claims by United States nationals for compensation for assets nationalized by the Iranian government, and claims by the governments against each other; any national court proceedings were nullified by the declarations. This was necessary in part because a large part of the frozen Iranian funds had already been transferred by United States courts to United States nationals as compensation; the declarations resulted in the reversal of all these United States court decisions.

The seat of the Tribunal is The Hague. It held its first meeting in the Peace Palace on July 1 1981; in April 1982, it moved to its own premises in The Hague.

The Tribunal is composed of nine arbitrators: three appointed by Iran, three appointed by the United States, and a further three (neither Iranian nor United States nationals) appointed by the previous six arbitrators. The Tribunal hears individual cases in the formation of three-member chambers; it meets as a full tribunal to consider disputes between the two governments, and cases referred from the chambers.

The Tribunal closed to new claims by private individuals on January 19 1982. In total, it received approximately 4,700 private US claims. The Tribunal has ordered payments by Iran to US nationals totaling over USD 2.5 billion. Almost all private claims have now been resolved; but several intergovernmental claims are still before the Tribunal.


In 1986 an English court held that the tribunal to be void under its own "lex loci arbitri" (which the court held to be Dutch law); see "Dallal v Bank Mellat" [1986] 1 QB 441.

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ US State Dept. page concerning the Tribunal]

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