The Archaeological Institute of America ("AIA") thinks that victims of state-sponsored terrorism should not be able to attach cultural artifacts to satisfy court judgments. Indeed, the AIA apparently feels so strongly about this that it plans to lobby Congress to change current law. See: http://www.archaeological.org/webinfo.php?page=10495
Why would the AIA side with regimes like those in Iran and Syria? Of course, if you believe the spin, the AIA has taken this position for only the most enlightened of reasons. As the AIA press release explains:
The ability of nations and institutions throughout the world to loan objects is crucial to achieving international cultural exchange and increasing understanding of different places, different times, and different people. Such archaeological artifacts should not be sold to satisfy claims that are unrelated to the objects themselves. While the earlier litigation related to Iran had already indicated some threat to cultural interchanges, the Metropolitan’s inability to borrow objects from Syria for an exhibition indicates the danger this legislation and litigation pose to cultural exchange. American citizens have been deprived of the opportunity of appreciating and learning from archaeological artifacts and works of art from one of the world’s oldest civilizations. The actions in question therefore pose a serious threat to cultural exchange and cultural diplomacy, which are extremely important in building understanding among peoples.
But, is cultural exchange really more important than compensating victims of terror? Certainly, at least one member of the AIA's "sister organization" Saving Antiquities for Everyone ("SAFE") has argued in the past that such interests do not trump compensating heirs of victims when it comes to "Holocaust art." Why should antiquities be any different?
The AIA website does not mention it, but is it possible that American archaeologists just want to please their Iranian and Syrian hosts? See https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/ Presumably fighting for such an exemption can only ingratiate American archaeologists with the Iranian and Syrian regimes and thus help ensure their continued access to archaeological sites in these countries. If Congress takes up this issue, the archaeological community's motives for supporting a change in the law need to be explored in depth before any amendment of existing law is adopted.