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The State

Attorneys for the Soviet Union and the U.S. government joined forces in an unusual alliance to battle an American businessman’s libel suit against the Soviets. Raphael Gregorian, who was denounced by the Soviets and barred from selling medical supplies in Moscow in 1984, has asked the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a $250,000 libel judgment. The Soviets have resisted and the U.S. State Department has sided with the Soviets, saying they may not be sued for libel in the United States. A U.S. Justice Department brief filed in San Francisco said “Congress did not intend that foreign states could be sued for claims of libel.” The Soviet newspaper Izvestia printed a story that called Gregorian a “duplicitous negotiator” and intimated he was a U.S. spy.


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