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US asks courts to hold suits filed against Iran

The Justice Department Thursday asked all courts to suspend suits filed against Iran that may qualify for international arbitration, and to lift attachments agaisnt Iranian assets. The request, involving approximately 450 cases of commercial claims, follows President Reagan's executive order suspending claims against Iran that may qualify for proceedings before an international tribunal.

The nine-member panel, to be set up as part of the agreement that freed the 52 American hostages, will handle a $1 billion fund for commercial claims against Iran. However, the agreement for the release of the 52 Americans bars claims by the hostages or their families against Iran.

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Meanwhile in Los Angeles, former hostage John D. McKeel Jr. has filed a $5 million false imprisonment suit against Iran and asked a federal court to rule ille gal a presidential ban on such lawsuits.

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