1979 Iran hostage crisis victims to receive remuneration

Memories may fade for some, but for the 52 Americans who suffered captivity at the hands of Islamic militants in Tehran for 444 days from November 1979 to January 1981, survivors are soon to receive a pleasant reminder of their ordeal from both a court ruling and the omnibus spending bill.

Survivors of the agonizing experience will receive a settlement of $4.4 million each or $10,000 per day of captivity.

Each spouse and descendant of deceased hostages will be granted a $600,000 sum.  

Seized on November 4, 1979, then-president Jimmy Carter refused to yield to demands and declared the embassy staff “victims of terrorism and anarchy.”

Through an agreement brokered with the assistance of the Algerian government, the hostages were released on January 20, 1981.  Included in the agreement was a proviso which prohibited individuals from pursuing litigation against Iran.

The source of the settlement was the result of an $8.9 billion fine to be paid by BNP Paribas, which was found liable by a U.S. court for breaching sanctions levied on Iran.

The court ruling paved the way for victims of terrorism to find redress:  Victims of terror attacks in the 1998 bombings at American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as the Beirut bombing in 1983 will also receive payments.

“I had to pull over to the side of the road, and I basically cried.  It has been 36 years, one month, 14 days, obviously, until President Obama signed the actual bill, until Iran was held accountable,” said former Marine embassy guard, Rodney Sickmann, who was held for 444 days.


[The Guardian] [Photo courtesy adst.org]