In the united states district court for the district of columbia




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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

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JOSEPH J. CICIPPIO, et al.,

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Plaintiffs,



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  1. } Civil Action No.: 96-1805 (TPJ)

Hon. Thomas Penfield Jackson

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THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN }


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Defendants

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DECLARATION OF DAVID CARPENTER

DAVID CARPENTER, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, declares the following under penalty of perjury:

1. I am the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security and the Director of the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) of the Department of State. I have held these positions since August 1998.

2. I make this declaration based upon information within my personal knowledge or known to me through my official responsibilities in the Department of State.

3. The Office of Foreign Missions was established under the Foreign Missions Act in 1982 pursuant to the Secretary of State’s authority. 22 U.S.C. § 4303. Among its authorities and responsibilities, OFM is responsible for the custody and protection of properties owned by certain foreign missions in the United States, including the Government of Iran. See 22 U.S.C. § 4305(c). In my position as Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, I and my staff have been responsible for the protection and maintenance of the diplomatic and consular properties of the Government of Iran. OFM has had this responsibility since its creation in 1982.

4. On November 14, 1979, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), 50 U.S.C. § 1701 et seq., and other authorities, the President issued Executive Order 12170 blocking Iranian assets in the United States. The United States permitted Iran to continue to occupy its Embassy, Consulates, and diplomatic residences, consistent with the United States’ obligations under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.

5. Subsequently, on April 7, 1980, President Carter, pursuant to his constitutional authority to conduct foreign affairs, severed diplomatic relations with Iran and ordered all Iranian diplomatic and consular officials to leave the United States. The President stated that the Secretary of State had informed the Government of Iran that its Embassy and consulates in the United States were to cease their activities immediately, and that all Iranian diplomatic and consular officials had been declared persona non grata and must leave the United States by midnight of the following day. By diplomatic note dated April 7, 1980, the Secretary of State informed the Embassy of Iran that on April 8, 1980, the Embassy and consulates would be closed and sealed, except to the extent that the Department may authorize any particular use of such premises by a protecting power. Diplomatic Relations and Recognition, 1980 Digest § 3, at 40-41; Diplomatic Missions and Embassy Property, 1980 Digest § 1, at 333-34 (Attached as Exhibit 1).

6. Further to his decision to sever diplomatic relations with Iran, President Carter on April 7, 1980 issued a Memorandum for the Secretary of the Treasury. That Memorandum provides in full that “In connection with my decision today to close Iranian diplomatic facilities in the United States, I am directing that the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service provide any assistance necessary to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General in order to make my decision effective, including control of movement of persons and property into and out of Iranian diplomatic facilities in the District of Columbia.” 1 Pub. Papers 1980-81, at 612 (April 7, 1980) (Attached as Exhibit 2).

7. On April 8, 1980, the United States assumed protection responsibilities for all of Iran’s diplomatic and consular property, including its diplomatic and consular real property and bank accounts.

8. On April 14, 1980, the Department of State approved Algeria as the protecting power for Iranian interests in the United States. In an Aide-Memoire dated April 18, 1980, which reflected the arrangements agreed upon by the United States and Iran for the acceptance of Algeria as Iran’s protecting power, the Department informed Algeria that the United States would retain custody of the Iranian premises in the United States until the United States or a protecting power on its behalf regained its premises in Iran. In response to the Algerian Embassy’s request that the United States ensure the safety and protection of Algerian diplomatic premises and those formerly occupied by the Iranian Embassy and consulates, by diplomatic note dated April 29, 1980, the Department of State assured the Embassy of Algeria that it would take all appropriate measures for the safety and protection of such diplomatic and consular premises in the United States. Diplomatic Missions and Embassy Property, 1980 Digest § 1, at 337-38 (Attached as Exhibit 3).

9. Under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, the United States is obligated to respect and protect Iran's diplomatic and consular property. See Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Art. 45 (a); Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, Art. 27(1)(a). In order to fulfill these obligations, OFM began to look at ways to maintain the property, examining both short-term and long-term alternatives. OFM determined that the real properties, if vacant, could not adequately be maintained over any significant period of time. Moreover, continued repair and maintenance needs required a source of funding. The Department of State determined that it would rent out the properties to generate a source of funds to pay for repair and maintenance of the properties over the long term. However, in order to obtain funding for the initial renovations, the Department requested that the Department of Treasury license the use of funds from existing diplomatic, consular, and other blocked official Iranian bank accounts.

10. The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of Treasury (OFAC) is responsible for implementing and enforcing President Carter’s Order regarding the blocking of Iranian assets. On February 16, 1984, the Department of State obtained License No. IR-1586-a (revised) from OFAC, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which states that wire transfers from various bank accounts in the United States in the name of Iran had been licensed for transfer into Account No. 20-863-55-542 at American Security Bank, State Department branch, held in the name of “Iranian Diplomatic and Consular Properties Renovation Account: U.S. Department of State, Office of Foreign Missions, Custodian-Trustee.” (License attached as Exhibit 4).

11. License No. IR-1586-a (revised) further requires that the above-transferred funds and any additional funds authorized to be transferred into Account No. 20-863-55-542 be “used solely to pay appropriate charges and expenses associated with the preservation, renovation, and operation of the properties owned by the Government of Iran . . . and located in the United States.” License No. IR-1586-a (revised) also provides that arrangements were to be made by the Department of State with OFAC for the eventual payback of funds transferred into Account No. 20-863-55-542 from any funds generated by lease or other appropriate use of the properties. The License requires all income generated by lease or other appropriate use of the properties to be deposited into Account No. 22-863-55-542 and states that such income constitutes blocked Iranian property under the Iranian Assets Control Regulations.

12. Pursuant to the authority of the Foreign Missions Act, 22 U.S.C. § 4305(c)(1), the Office of Foreign Missions maintained, and where necessary, renovated all Iranian custodial property (except for the building on the Upton Street property in the District of Columbia, which was demolished) using funds from Account No. 20-863-55-542. (A list of these properties is attached as Exhibit 5.)

13. In October 1983 the Office of Foreign Missions began leasing the properties. By December 1985 all Iranian custodial properties (with the exception of the Upton Street property) had been rented. These properties have been leased since that time with interruptions for new tenants. The Office of Foreign Missions deposits all lease proceeds into Account No. 20-863-55-542.

14. As required by License No. IR-1586-a (revised) and pursuant to the payback arrangements between the Treasury Department, Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Office of Foreign Missions, the Office of Foreign Missions transfers, on a yearly basis, funds from rental proceeds that exceed the anticipated maintenance costs for the custodial properties held in Account No. 20-863-55-542 to Account No. 39910000120887 entitled “Blocked Iranian Diplomatic and Consular Property Renovation Account.”

15. American Security Bank was subsequently acquired by NationsBank, which was in turn acquired by Bank of America. The accounts were transferred to each successive bank, and the funds remain held in Account No. 20-863-55-542 and Account No. 39910000120887 at Bank of America.

16. As a reciprocal action taken in response to Iran’s breach of its obligations under agreed protecting power arrangements, and its obligations under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations to respect and protect the diplomatic and consular properties of the United States, and specifically Iran’s unwillingness to permit Switzerland, the United States’ protecting power in Iran, to assume custody of United States diplomatic and consular property (including bank accounts) in Iran, the United States has not made available Iranian diplomatic and consular properties, including the funds in the above accounts, to Iran's protecting power in the United States. A portion of the funds in the accounts are derived from certain official accounts held in the name of Iran prior to the severing of diplomatic relations. Other funds are derived from the lease of Iran's diplomatic and consular properties, and as such, are considered an integral part of Iran's diplomatic and consular property in the United States and are therefore equally subject to our obligation to respect and protect diplomatic and consular assets.

17. These funds are among the diplomatic and consular properties claimed by Iran before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal in The Hague, The Netherlands, established pursuant to the “Algiers Accords”, which entered into force on January 19, 1981 (Iran v. United States of America, Case Nos. A/4, A/7, A/15(I:F&III). Continued United States protection of Iran’s diplomatic and consular property, including the accounts, is important to preserving the United States’ position in those cases with regard to the diplomatic and consular properties of the two governments. Moreover, the United States’ failure to protect from attachment diplomatic and consular properties and funds of countries with which we do not have diplomatic relations would make more difficult efforts to protect similarly situated diplomatic and consular property, including funds, of the United States abroad.

18. Renovation and rental of custodial property has produced benefits for the United States. In the case of Vietnam and Cambodia, income produced by rental of the custodial diplomatic properties was used to repay renovation expenses which had been withdrawn under license from blocked government accounts. When relations with Vietnam were reestablished, for example, the excellent condition in which the United States had maintained its properties provided considerable leverage for obtaining from Vietnam return of our former diplomatic properties and obtaining valuable properties in place of some properties which could not be returned. Blocked government funds provide a source from which Vietnam paid the United States Government 18 million dollars in compensation for property that Vietnam was unable to return.



I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed on this ____day of August, 2000.
_________________________________

David Carpenter


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