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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Dames & Moore
(Argued the cause for intervenor-respondent Islamic Republic of Iran)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for intervenor-respondent Bank Markazi Iran)
(Argued the cause for the the federal respondents)
Location: Dames & Moore
Facts of the Case 

In reaction to the seizure of the U.S. embassy and American nationals in Iran, President Jimmy Carter invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and froze Iranian assets in the United States. When the hostages were released in 1981, Treasury Secretary Donald Regan affirmed the agreements made the Carter administration that terminated all legal proceedings against the Iranian government and created an independent Claims Tribunal. Dames & Moore attempted to recover over $3 million owed to it by the Iranian government and claimed the executive orders were beyond the scope of presidential power.


Did the president have the authority to transfer Iranian funds and to nullify legal claims against Iran?

Decision: 8 votes for Regan, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: 50 U.S.C. 1702

The Court held that the International Emergency Economic Powers Act constituted a specific congressional authorization for the President to order the transfer of Iranian assets. The Court further held that although the IEEPA itself did not authorize the presidential suspension of legal claims, previous acts of Congress had "implicitly approved" of executive control of claim settlement. The Court emphasized the narrowness of its ruling, limiting the decision to the facts of the case.

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DAMES & MOORE v. REGAN. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1980/1980_80_2078>.
DAMES & MOORE v. REGAN, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1980/1980_80_2078 (last visited August 30, 2015).
"DAMES & MOORE v. REGAN," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 30, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1980/1980_80_2078.