The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lamberth, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on Garnishee-Defendant FMC
Corporation's ("FMC") Motion to Dissolve the Writ of Attachment
levied upon "any money, property or credits" FMC owes to Iran.
Upon consideration of the motion, the memoranda in support of and
in opposition thereto, the applicable law, and for the reasons
set forth below, the Court hereby GRANTS
Garnishee-Defendant's Motion and QUASHES the Writ of Attachment
Plaintiff seeks to attach an arbitration award issued in favor
of Iran by the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal. See FMC
Corporation v. The Islamic Republic of Iran, Award No. 292-353-2
(Iran-United States Claims Tribunal February 12, 1987) (award
arising out of dispute over contract for military equipment).
Plaintiff contends that two provisions of the Foreign Sovereign
Immunities Act ("FSIA") authorize this action. 28 U.S.C.A. §
1610(a)(7) & (f)(1)(A) (West Supp. 1999).
Section 1610(a)(7) of the FSIA authorizes the attachment of
property of a foreign state that is "used for commercial activity
in the United States" to satisfy judgments awarded under the
FSIA's state-sponsored terrorism exception, Section 1605(a)(7).
As explained below, plaintiff s claim under this provision fails
because the statute of limitations for enforcing the award has
expired, thus rendering the award null and void.
The Algiers Accords are not self-executing. See The Islamic
Republic of Iran v. United States, Award No. 586-A27-FT, ¶ 8
(Iran-United States Claims Tribunal June 5, 1998) (stating that
the terms "final and binding" in an international arbitration
agreement do not mean an award is self-executing); Iran Aircraft,
980 F.2d at 144 (noting that the Accords contain no mechanism for
direct enforcement of awards issued against U.S. nationals); see
also Islamic Republic of Iran v. Boeing, 771 F.2d 1279, 1283 (9th
Cir. 1985). Rather, enforcement of foreign arbitral awards, such
as Tribunal awards, are governed by the New York Convention*fn1
and Chapter II of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C.A. §§
201-208 (West 1999) ("Arbitration Act"), which implements
provisions of the Convention into domestic law. Ministry of
Defense v. Gould, 887 F.2d 1357, 1362 (9th Cir. 1989). Notably,
the Arbitration Act requires parties to confirm arbitration
awards within three years of their issuance. See 9 U.S.C. § 207
(providing that "[w]ithin three years after an arbitral award
falling under the Convention is made, any party to the
arbitration may apply to any court having jurisdiction under this
chapter for an order confirming the award as against any other
party to the arbitration"). Courts addressing claims under the
Arbitration Act have construed Section 207 to be a statute of
limitations. See, e.g., Seetransport Wiking Trader
Schiffarhtsgesellschaft MBH & Co., 989 F.2d 572, 580 (2d Cir.
1993); In re Consolidated Rail Co., 867 F. Supp. 25, 30 (D.D.C.
1994) (recognizing Section 207 as a three-year statute of
The award against FMC was issued on February 12, 1987, which
was twelve years ago. Plaintiff points to no authority that
suggests that the confirmation period has been extended or
tolled. Thus, because the statute of limitations for confirming
this award has expired, neither Iran nor anyone purporting to act
on its behalf has cognizable or enforceable property rights in
this award. See Phillips v. Sugrue, 886 F. Supp. 63, 64 (D.D.C.
1995) (holding that "a judgment creditor's rights against a
garnishee cannot be greater than those which the debtor would
have in absence of the garnishment"). Accordingly, an expired,
unenforceable award does not constitute "property used for
commercial activity in the United States." 28 U.S.C.A. §
Plaintiff's claim under another enforcement provision of the
FSIA, Section 1610(f)(1)(A), likewise fails. As explained in
greater detail in this Court's opinion issued today concerning
other writs of attachment levied in this case, Section
1610(f)(1)(A) is unavailable to the plaintiff because the President
has "waived the requirements of this section in the interest of
national security." See Memorandum Opinion, Flatow v. Islamic
Republic of Iran, 76 F. Supp.2d 16, 24-26 (D.D.C. 1999); see also
Waiver of Exception to Immunity from Attachment or Execution,
Pub.L. 105-277, Title I, § 117(d), 112 Stat. 2681 (October
21, 1998) (stating that "[t]he President may waive the
requirements of this section . . . in the interest of national
security"); see also Determination to Waive Requirements Relating
to Blocked Property of Terrorist-List States, 63 Fed. Reg. 59201
(October 21, 1998) (exercising authority to waive requirements
under § 117(d) and stating that such requirements "would
impede the ability of the President to conduct foreign policy in
the interest of national security").
For the reasons set forth above, it is hereby
ORDERED that Garnishee-Defendant FMC's Motion is GRANTED;
ORDERED that the Writ of Attachment is QUASHED; and
ORDERED that Garnishee-Defendant's Motion for a Protective