US Taxpayers To Pay Iran’s Compensation To Hostage Crisis Victims
The new fund, known as the “United States Victims of State Sponsors of Terrorism Fund,” was an addition to the omnibus bill put forward by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama Dec. 28. As much as $4.4 million could go to each of the 52 Americans held by Iran, with another $600,000 going to each spouse and child of the victims. The provision authorizes $1.025 billion from the Department of the Treasury to be used to pay for the new fund. Additionally, the legislation includes a 25 percent cap on any attorney’s fees, which could lead to as much as $250 million total going to lawyers of the various victims involved.
The victims were taken hostage during Iran’s Islamic Revolution led by former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. Hundreds of student protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran taking 52 U.S. personnel hostage for 444 days. Several months after the takeover, former President Jimmy Carter authorized Operation Eagle Claw, a rescue attempt by U.S. special operations forces which would later fail. The hostages would eventually be released after a lengthy negotiation process the day of President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in January, 1981.
Victims of the embassy attack have been seeking compensation for their captivity for some time, but have been prevented from taking legal action against Iran. The 1981 Algiers Accords, the agreement which secured the release of the hostages, had a provision barring the victims from suing the Iranian government.