Americans Held Hostage in Iran Win Compensation 36 Years Later

Buried in the omnibus spending bill signed into law last week are provisions to give each of the former hostages or their estates up to $4.4 million.

Comments: 321

  1. These former hostages absolutely deserve compensation for being held against their will and against all norms of decency.
    But we should also compensate the Iranian people for helping overthrow their democratically-elected government in 1953, installing a brutal dictator (whose overthrow, ironically, led to the hostage taking), supporting a cruel 8-year war against them, including helping their enemy Iraq target them with chemical weapons, and imposing a harsh sanction regime upon them.
    What say you?

  2. Reparations to the estates of government employees held for 15 months by a foreign government, but no reparations to estates of Americans held and tortured as slaves under US. Government sanctions for nearly a century?

  3. My family emigrated here after slavery had ended.

    I won't be putting any of my money towards reparations.

    But, on a happier note, tens of thousands of Africans made money selling their people as slaves. I am sure they will put some of that profit towards reparations.

    Afterall they surely derived a benefit from it.

  4. Almost 600,000 Union soldiers died defeating slavery. Is that not sacrifice enough?

  5. 360,000 Union soldiers died though that's still plenty.

  6. $4.4 million is a lot of money for an injury that occurred a long time ago and that isn't really the fault of the U.S. government. Anyone working in a US embassy assumes the risk of revolution. This looks like an anti-terror political publicity stunt at the expense of taxpayers. What's next, $4.4 million for every soldier who is wounded in action?

  7. Theverything money comes from fines levied against sanctions violators. No taxpayer money involved.

  8. The military are already being paid through disability payments, Estaban, sometimes even if they don't actually deserve them.

  9. These fifty three hostages should have been paid way back by the Ronald Reagan administration. After all he used them to win his presidency.

  10. They were freed minutes after he was inaugurated, I don't think they minded being "used" if holding a president accountable for their plight resulted in their freedom.

  11. Hostage-taking by the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism on Jimmy Carter's watch is Reagan's fault? Now I've heard everything.

  12. Hey - you could look it up. You won't, but you could.

  13. I count myself as a supporter of President Obama and as an opponent of many of his policies.

    The Iranian nuclear deal will be stuck in my craw for a very long time, and I will not be
    forgetting this on election day ln November, no matter the merits of Democrats who may be running.

    I believe there are a considerable number of other voters similar to me, perhaps not enough
    to elect a Republican President, but certainly enough to secure the number of Republican
    Congressmen, Senators and Governors needed to insure against another sellout of Israel.

  14. In the years to come this agreement will be praised. Will you apologize for that "craw" then?

  15. 3 billion USD, one-third of our foreign aid budget, annually goes to Israel. That's not a sellout. That's a major buy in.

  16. I am not sure you are a president Obama supporter. I wonder why you'd think your comments would be more legitimate by prefacing with that.

  17. How many "crescent" people did we kidnap and place/torture in Guantanamo? Years later we released many of these hostages without any charges. I'd say we owe them compensation.

  18. at DaveD -- you wrote, "How many "crescent" people did we kidnap and place/torture in Guantanamo?"

    My answer -- "Not enough."

  19. Yea, the title says it all. Today, over 70% of Iran's population are under 30. You just cannot stop animosity againts these young people. Till last month we lived under sanctions and now that sanctions are lifted... You have discriminatory visa waiver program that bars all Iranian dual nationals from the program. Also, you just want to get compensation for some incident happened 36 years ago.


  20. It was not just"some incident" 36 years ago: the take-over of the US Embassy in Teheran and the holding of US embassy personnel as hostages violated every long and ancient rules of how countries treat each other's diplomats.

    Civilized nations do _not_ violate international laws about how diplomats are treated so that diplomacy and peace-making can be conducted in relative safety.

  21. And civilized nations don't overthrow a democratically elected leader, and prop up up its own chosen tyrannical leader as the U.S. did in Iran.

  22. Now if Congress will beef up the funds for security on our embassies, maybe there will be fewer such incidents.

  23. Beef up the funds to secure our embassies? You don't think they already get enough funding? We spend $750 billion a year!

  24. Iran should apologize as soon as the US apologizes for overthrowing and assasinating their popularly elected government in 1953.

  25. Their "popularly elected government" which fell in 1953 was living proof that they are not worthy of self-determination.

  26. It was President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill working together who overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minister Mosadegh who wanted to help the desparately poor people in his country with money gotten by nationalizing the Iranian oil fields.

  27. The 1953 coup against Mosaddegh was to prevent the nationalization of Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, now called BP. It would be justice to use some of the money given by BP for the Deepwater Horizon spill to compensate Iranians.

  28. I would like to know what Iran did to punish the students who kidnapped the Americans in the first place.

  29. Nothing. Some went on to serve in the Iranian government.

  30. I think they made one of them, Ahmadinejad, their president.

  31. They were forced to watch Ronald Reagan's inauguration and subsequent speeches. Very sever punishment.
    And watch their nation become the most successful sponsor of terror, judged by body counts, on the planet.
    And watch their economy collapse. for almost forty years.
    They got to see national resources wasted on A-bombs, when what the nation needed was more water. You can't drink U-235.
    They got to move the nation toward being Judenrein.
    And to work on removing all Zoroasters and Christians as well.
    These plagues and others were visited on Iran buy it's own.

  32. Let me play devil's advocate here for a second. While there is nothing wrong with these folks being compensated by an illegal act by the Iranian government, I wonder if any of this money will go towards the Iranian victims of the Shahs' brutal dictatorship and repression of his people, a government backed and sponsored by the U.S., which led to the revolution and rise of the current theocratic Iranian government?

  33. The American hostages get $4.4 million each. The 200+ Iranians killed by our military which shot down a civilian airliner get less than $200K each. Something is wrong with this picture.

  34. And there was no admission of guilt but somehow that makes Americans "principled " and Iranians "bad'

  35. One was accidental; the other was deliberate.
    Also note that "In 1996, the United States and Iran reached a settlement at the International Court of Justice which included the statement: ""...the United States recognized the aerial incident of 3 July 1988 as a terrible human tragedy and expressed deep regret over the loss of lives caused by the incident...""

    Note also that inflation also takes a toll. The US dollar has been inflated by 51% since 1996.

  36. "state-sponsored terrorism".

    How much money each widow, widower and orphan in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and now Syria will be compensated with?

    Let me guess: zero.
    $4.4 million for Americans who are "psychological and emotionally damage"!!??

  37. Oh, the always exceptional Americano hypocrisy.
    Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the American coup de etat that deposed their elected government in 1953?
    Has the US paid the Iranian victims of the US armed Saddam Hussein when he used US supplied chemical weapons and US supplied satellite imagery to use those WMD's on Iran?
    And, oh, the bleating about the hostages. Not mentioned is the fact that, at the time, the US Embassy Tehran was the largest CIA station in the world.
    We did pay the 290 victims, 66 of them children, when the USS Vincennes shot two missiles that blasted Iran Air 655 out of the sky. We never did apologise though.

    On the other hand, has any American, wrongly convicted and imprisoned, for decades, in our own country, been paid $10,000 a day? As we, the always exceptional, would say:
    Nope.

  38. The amount was calculated using amounts previously paid for people wrongly imprisoned with additional amounts for torture and emotional abuse.

  39. nicely stated; United State Of hypocrisy -Malcolm-X

  40. The only bleating I hear is that of a whiny contrarian who sees nothing good in the US. Go try criticizing the Iranian government in Iran and see how far you get. Really, please do.

  41. there are no words.

  42. Awesome. I am happy for them.

  43. On August 12, 1969 my 19 year old brother was killed, along with 20 other Marines, in the Arizona Territory in Vietnam. All our families have suffered their loss for these long decades. Now their descendants will be taxed to provide compensation to the estates of the Iranian hostages.

  44. I agree. This is an example of the irresponsibility of those we elect deciding who gets the spoils of the tax payers money. I feel for these people but do not understand why the government has to compensate them. There are millions of people work for the government in foreign countries and that is part of the risk.

    To me it means that the role of government and tax money has been lost. This is a blatant example of the US government playing the "rich uncle" with taxpayer dollars. Totally irresponsible.

  45. Did you read the article? No one is being taxed. The money is coming from a multi-billion dollar fine paid by BNP Parabas bank.

    And even if we were paying taxes to support the compensation - something I'm ok with - this "what about mine?" attitude that currently pervades America is ripping our country apart.

  46. The money will be paid from the $9 billion penalty paid by BNP Paribas, not by taxing Americans.

  47. The United States of America pays $2500 for each innocent Afghan killed by it.

    Meanwhile, a psychologically damaged American is receiving $4.4 million.

    The message to the world: a psychologically damaged American is worth 1,760 times more than an innocent Afghan civilian killed.

  48. Another message could simply be that, regardless of the sum of compensation , America admits responsibility for those innocent civilians being killed, something Iran has not done with regard to taking these hostages.

  49. In terms of real value, probably true. Most of the Americans were engineers.

  50. Purchasing power in the USA is 420% higher than in Afghanistan. Translated - that means that you get a lot more bang for your dollar there than you do here. Also - that number assumes that you live as an American there. That however, is *not* how Afghanis live which means that to maintain your regular lifestyle costs even more here than there. Lots more.
    How much do Afghanis earn per year or lifetime vs the same for Americans? Compensation should be relative to cost of living there - not relative to cost of living here.

  51. Good news for the former hostages.

    On a semi-related note, has anyone actually combed through the 2,000+ pages of the spending bill? It's been reported that hundreds, if not thousands, of tax breaks and regulatory favors for special interests were packed into the bill. It would be great if the NYT and other news media would dig a little further.

  52. The "Cybersecurity" Information Sharing Act (CISA) got pushed through as text buried within that December 2015 Riderfest. That should say everything anyone needs to know about the bill, and of the current state and presence of democracy in US legislature.

  53. In an article the NYT published they had a link to the tax breaks and favors. It was over 200 pages long. Depending on your outlook, you can decide if it was pork or smart funding. You should be able to search it.

  54. It does not bode well for 99% of us, fact or fiction. The usual christmas rush to deceive us. Time for a changing of the guards and to actually elect people who will run OUR government for 99% of us instead of the wealthiest, most connected among us. It's simply ludicrous.

  55. Most of the hostages were foreign policy specialists who helped develop and carry out the pro-Shah policies that caused most Iranians to deeply resent the U.S. Our relations with Iran at the time were at the cutting edge of American imperialism. Before you pay compensation, you need to consider the responsibility of the victims for their own fate. That's what the military has done with Bergdahl. Do we reward highly educated mid-level architects of the very policy that led to their victimization?

  56. This is not true. The Embassy was completely restaffed after the Revolution. All were new to Iran.

  57. Correction: from February to November 1979, the embassy was supporting the moderate transitional government, and not the Shah or the radicals.

  58. While the hostages deserve compensation, it's unclear to me that $4.4M is a reasonable amount, or how that figure was calculated. I'd also be interested to know why the State Department blocked compensation in the past.

    As stated in the article, the main impetus may be "taking control of the BNP Paribas money back from the Justice Department".

  59. The article states how the amount was calculated. $10,000/day for each day of captivity.

  60. It was blocked because the deal that got the hostages released in 1979 was that Iran would not have to pay restitution. So the courts had to block it (not just State). Like it or not, that's what was agreed to.

  61. The answer is in the article if you read it entirely:

    "The law now stands to bring closure to a saga that riveted the nation and ruptured America’s ties with Iran. The very agreement that won the hostages’ release in 1981 barred them from seeking restitution. Their legal claims were repeatedly blocked in the courts, including an appeal denied by the Supreme Court."

  62. So when will the CIA compensate Iranians upended by Operation Ajax?

  63. Now, finally, can we move on?

    The US faces significant threats- Sunni and Arab.

    It is time to let the events, 36 years in the past, go. It is time to move forward.

    Our enemy is Saudi Arabia. Iran is our greatest potential ally.

  64. I worked with a bunch of people that decided to go to Iran for the company. Benefits were good, from Iran they could travel to a large part of Asia.

    One night they got a knock on the door and were told to meet in the lobby in five minutes. They were not to take anything exempt their passports. Ultimately they boarded a bus and were chased almost all the way to the Afghanistan border. They crashed through the checkpoint like they do in movies.

    Even knowing how things worked out, I doubt many of the would have traded a year of their lives for $4 million, but there were a couple of crazies that would have.

  65. Does that mean that the American People and each taxpayer should pay for their choices to benefit themselves in a high compensation job with risks???? I think not.

  66. The article does not explain why they were barred from seeking compensation and why the BNP Paribas money made a difference to their case. Will have to seek this information elsewhere...but I shouldn't have to.

  67. $10,000.00 a day for 444 days.

  68. In the meantime the US continues to deny any compensation to innocent persons subjected to torture in the US torture program under Bush/Cheney. Indeed, the US will not even allow those tortured (because of mistaken identity, for example) to sue: the US ensures the cases never get to court.

  69. The US also continues to deny a day in court for all of those who were subjected to "rendition" by us so they could be tortured by someone else.

    Not allowing our victims to sue for justice, not prosecuting those Americans who carried out torture, not prosecuting those who committed the crime of aggression against Iraq, and the continuing American terror wrought by our drones are all causes for national shame, and hopefully - some future day - reckoning at the Hague, if we continue to refuse to ensure justice is rendered here.

  70. Money makes everything OK, right?

  71. Since we don't have a time machine that would enable anyone to go back there and do anything differently, what is your point?

  72. Reward for spying, incompetence and ineptitude. A legacy of US failed policy of propping up the despot Shah in the name of oil. US interference foreign policy was as much responsible for the Iran Islamic Republic, as those students who took those people hostage.

    In the US, the propaganda machine was running wild, during that 444 days these people were held. Never once mentioning that the US Embassy staff was helping the Shah's secret police. To add to this US incompetence was the failed rescue attempt. This is the legacy of the Carter Administration. But, a legacy which started with Eisenhower, who had the CIA overthrow the elected Iranian government and put the Shah on the Peacock Throne. Why? The new Iranian government wanted to nationalize their oil fields. Big oil, the Us and the UK wouldn't have it.

    Apparently while everything else is falling apart in this country, there is money for tax cuts and rewards for spies. How nice.

  73. Reward for a blatant violation of diplomatic norms. Countries pursue various policies which their embassies represent. Nowhere in international law is the seizure of an embassy and the hostage-taking of its personnel considered a legally or morally justified act. The Iranian government was within its rights to break off diplomatic relations with the U.S. and may have had sound moral reason to do so; it totally stepped over the line with the seizure.

    Incidentally, the money for this doesn't come from U.S. taxpayers so the last part of your rant is immaterial.

  74. This seems like an artful way to get these folks some dough and not have the US taxpayers pay for it...which, I suppose, would be a bad precedent. These folks were all officers and employees of the United States who were bit players in an international drama...and were fortunately released. They have a legitimate claim against Iran which the US extinguished...so now the US must stand in Iran's place. That's what's happening, I think.

  75. "...buried in the huge spending bill ...are provisions that would give each of the 53 hostages...$4.4mil" means that the "spending" is of taxpayer dollars. I'm not for or against it, but that's what it means

  76. Yes. U.S. taxpayers are paying for it, and we should. The $9 billion penalty from BNP Paribas was owing to the U.S. government as a penalty for violating U.S. sanctions law, so taking $3.8 billion for compensation to U.S. victims of terrorism comes from U.S. taxpayers but rightfully so in the case of the hostages as it was our agreement that they waive their compensation rights. I suppose the Iranians can also be considered to have paid, indirectly, as the sanctions on them have cost them immeasurably.

  77. Sorry but BNP penalties are paid to the US Teasury, which IS American Tax payer money, which we spend on weapons and pensions and private healthcare for our fab elected officials.

  78. I just hope that the compensation will include first responders to 9/11.
    There is no excuse for how they have been kick to the curb after risking their own lives to help. Don't make them wait a day longer for healthcare coverage and death benefits from the illnesses they incurred from the hazardous environment they rushed into on that day and the months to follow.

  79. what about victims of Oklahoma bombing? They are also victims of terrorism.

  80. Does anyone actually read articles before commenting or just the headline?

  81. GeorgiaDem, 9/11 first responders (and their families if deceased) received excellent compensation. Don't believe everything you hear and/or read:

    "The attacks killed or seriously injured approximately 425 emergency responders. This group received a total of $1.9 billion in benefits, or about $1.1 million more on average than a civilian with similar economic loss. Most of these funds (about three-quarters) came from the government, and the remainder came from charities."

    "Residents of Lower Manhattan, workers, those who suffered from emotional trauma, and those who were injured from exposure to smoke, dust, and debris released during the collapse and cleanup of the World Trade Center also received compensation. The benefits that could be quantified for these groups total approximately $3.5 billion, most of which came from government programs. Total compensation for mental health care and for respiratory injuries due to environmental exposure would be higher if the benefits paid by employer-provided health plans or employee-assistance plans could be quantified."

    Check it: http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9087/index1.html

  82. Money, money , money - who gets it and who doesn't? At least now we have learned that you can get reparations for something that happened 35 years ago. Sure hope they funded the money needed to care for our first responders after 9/11.

  83. The legislation also funds support for first responders.

  84. It is amazing just how much ignorance of history and politics there is.

  85. First responders (and if deceased, their families) on 9/11 were well paid:

    "The attacks killed or seriously injured approximately 425 emergency responders. This group received a total of $1.9 billion in benefits, or about $1.1 million more on average than a civilian with similar economic loss. Most of these funds (about three-quarters) came from the government, and the remainder came from charities."

    "Residents of Lower Manhattan, workers, those who suffered from emotional trauma, and those who were injured from exposure to smoke, dust, and debris released during the collapse and cleanup of the World Trade Center also received compensation. The benefits that could be quantified for these groups total approximately $3.5 billion, most of which came from government programs. Total compensation for mental health care and for respiratory injuries due to environmental exposure would be higher if the benefits paid by employer-provided health plans or employee-assistance plans could be quantified."

  86. What's great is the funds aren't coming from American Tax Payers, but penalties against Iran, who should be footing the bill for holding these workers. Not sure where $10,000 a day comes from, given the average American FAMILY makes that much in 2 months. Definitely an incentive to press for 30 yrs to get compensation, and take a job in a high risk location for the US government. Not sure I could wait 30 yrs for BNP to be found guilty.....

  87. Though I agree with these hostages getting compensation, to be fair, wouldn't the Iranians who suffered at the hand of the American Coo in 1953 deserve compensation too?

  88. Coo? it's coup.

  89. What's a Coo?

  90. It's a noise pigeons make...

  91. The victims of injustice whether by our actions or others is endless. Native Americans, African American slaves, the falsely imprisoned, we can go on
    and on. The Iranian hostages are lucky in that a private penalty, not taxpayers,
    will fund their relief. It will set off anger to those who have suffered injustice
    and who want money to heal their pain.

  92. OUR government put the sanctions on Iran, J, and OUR Justice Department sued for the penalty - it is not "private" money. It's OUR hard-earned taxpayer money and too damn much is going into attorney's pockets. Yet, WE have to sign "arbitration" clauses in contracts and lose OUR right to sue. Whose world is it again?

  93. I doubt money will heal anyone's pain.

  94. This is absurd. These are former Foreign Service Officers, CIA personnel, and United States Marines who were all aware of the risks involved in their chosen professions BEFORE they were posted.

  95. And? They were victims also. It's not coming out of your pocket.

  96. That's correct, Richard. It will be coming out of my kids' pockets, as we kick the federal debt can down the road.

  97. Iran violated international law regarding foreign embassy personnel. The "risks" should never have existed.

    When have we imprisoned embassy staff? Even after the declaration of war following Pearl Harbor, Japanese and German embassy personnel were permitted to leave, unharmed and unhindered.

    Iran was an Evil Empire then and is so now -- one our administration makes deals with. They are already pushing the envelope, with Russia's connivance.

  98. I do not mind the compensation ,but why so much?
    While republicans are trying to limit how much money you can get if a doctor kills you on the operating table, why are we giving 4.4 million to each victim?
    Wouldn't 1 million be plenty?

  99. Because, Linda, these men and women are patriots. Cheers!

  100. It's an amazing comment you made. If somebody hit the lotto for an amount that you find exorbitant, you'd ask the same question.

  101. Who cares how they spend Iran's money.

  102. So, uh, perhaps the United States could now apologize to Iran for the 1953 CIA-backed coup of Mohammad Mosaddegh, the democratically elected secular leader. It was the coup that installed the shah -- setting in motion decades of U.S.-supported misery, torture and murder under the shah and the subsequent Islamic revolution and return of Khomeini (who at least inspired the embassy seizure). How about some money for all the millions of Iranians' whose lives were destroyed by America? And how about some context in your reporting?

  103. Madeline Albright apologized for US support for the 1953 coup and US support for the Shah during the Clinton Administration.

  104. Taken from the full statement (http://fas.org/news/iran/2000/000317.htm)

    "In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Massadegh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons; but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.
    Moreover, during the next quarter century, the United States and the West gave sustained backing to the Shah's regime. Although it did much to develop the country economically, the Shah's government also brutally repressed political dissent."

    Hardly an apology, at best an acknowledgement buried in a pile of self-serving excuses and complaints about Iran.

  105. And when one speaks about the 1953 coup, it is also important to note that of which few are aware: when Stalin made noises about conducting his own intrusion into Iran, Henry Truman scotched this by emphatically putting his foot down.
    Had Truman not stood up to the Russians, Iran as an Iranian state would have been as religiously diluted as were the Muslim sectors of the southern Soviet Empire. And that wonderful, benign Islamic theocracy later bringing terrorism t so much of the world would have never come into existence...

  106. Thank God! At long last. I have for so many years felt that the hostage victims should have been allowed to pursue their rights against Iran directly in the US Federal courts. Iran would have learned how effective the American court system can be against those who would violate the lawful rights of Americans if only the the State Department and the Justice Department not stood in their way--a shameful, inexcusable outrage that no American should ever forget.
    The US court system is a powerful, useful tool against state sponsored violations of the rights of Americans but our Government must not interfere--that must never happen again.

  107. Why isn't the Reagan family paying the compensation? It was Reagan's treason that prevented the hostages from being released promptly, as the former President of Iran has confirmed. You can't try a dead man for treason, but his estate nonetheless bears responsibility for the suffering these Americans went through.

  108. But remember. It was George Bush that carried the suitcases of money to pay for the captives being held until after the election. Bush was also a traitor.

  109. No comment on how it was under the weak Jimmy Carter that the hostage situation arose and continued for months on end? No, all Regan's fault...as usual.

  110. Of all the strange comments this article has generated, yours tops the list. It is scary that so many people would recommend it. If we can't recognize greatness in a past President, how can we hope to select a new one?

  111. Headline misleading, there was no compensation awarded by the Mullahs.

  112. This is long overdue and a reminder to Americans and Iranians, suffering at the hands of the bellicose and belligerent policies of their respective governments, the need to ratchet down the enmity between our two nations through constructive dialogue, like the dialogue over Iranian Nuclear ambitions.

    The U.S. government has never formally apologized to Iran for the downing of the civilian Iranian airliner shot down over the strait of Humuz in the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes that killed all 274 passengers and 16 crew members in 1988.

    The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khammenei and the hardliners of Iraq use this tragedy as we use the tragic hostage taking as fodder for vilification. Instead, President Obama has tried to move away from such confrontation.

    Unfortunately, we confuse a rational policy of rapprochement with weakness, so expect more confrontation and crisis between the two nations in a perpetual war footing.

  113. Congress taking control of the BNP Paribas money from the Justice Department is akin to cops confiscating cash from innocent motorists. Well, DoJ is getting a taste of its own medicine.

  114. The cops don't confiscate money, the courts actually do it. And in any event, the DOJ, whatever they may think, is subordinate to the Congress as the funds aren't theirs to keep.

  115. It's more like the Feds (Congress) confiscating the Southern cops (the DOJ) preying on innocent motorists (BNP).

  116. George,
    I remember both the NYT and Washington Post not too long ago ran a series of articles of a pattern of cops, across the US especially in the South and West, stopping motorists for minor infractions, searching their vehicles, confiscating cash, and pressuring them into signing paper giving up their claim to the confiscated cash. Yes, there is a law for cops and DoJ to confiscate illegally obtained money and properties. But from innocent motorists is akin to robbery. No court would sanction it and in fact many motorists were able to get their money back if they had the money to hire lawger.

  117. it'd be interesting to see how the usa would react if citizens of countries such as iran, chile, Vietnam, Greece, argentina, brazil, cuba, Cambodia, a few in central America--and more-sued for damages caused by the backing, overtly and covertly, of murderous right wing dictatorships.....

  118. As always with simplistic liberal analysis, harm done to Americans must always be seen as quid pro quo for what our country did to somebody else. In the Iranian hostage situation, this was the oppressive force of Iranian oppression vs innocent Americans, not compensation for what the US may or may not have done elsewhere.
    The leaders of the Iranian theocracy are culpable. And thus those with any sense of justice knows they must pay for their crimes...

  119. But they didn't; a French bank did.

  120. should've been...americans HAVE a rather....in my response

  121. Is it un-American to see this as just another shining example of a litigious society where everyone gets psychological and/or financial remuneration for being a victim? I thought they took their foreign service jobs knowing the possible consequences? And if they deserve "restitution" what on earth must we owe the estates of the African-Americans in our country who not only went through atrocious hell on earth by the hand of their own fellow citizens no less but have nonetheless contributed richly to our culture in so many ways, a legacy that we and the rest of the world enjoy? Simply put, America would be a much different, a greatly diminished culture without the African-American contribution. I'd rather pay-it-backward for them than foreign service workers who knowingly took a job in Iran.

  122. What am I missing? As unfortunate and horrible as the incident was, I don't understand why these former hostages are being made into multi-millionaires.
    And most people commenting here are saying, "Why only them? Give money to everyone else." I don't get it.

  123. The money seems to be coming out of a fine imposed on a French bank for violating Iran sanctions. This does not seem like a bad use of that money, since it is in a way being funneled from Iran.

  124. Instead of making millionaires of these people and their children (its always about the money in this country for so called victims), the money would be better spent in feeding the homeless and in paying police for anti-terrorism....

  125. NKB, you are taking that official explanation at face value. Whenever a good chunk of money is spent by a larger business or local or federal level govt, there is almost always someone there to officially say "it is OK to spend because we found the money over here and no one needs it!" That "spin" is what is happening here.

  126. Yeah, Mike, those hostages were "so-called" victims, not actual victims. Sheesh...

  127. It's only fair, because they were held for over a year, and most people made about four million dollars a year back in 1979. Any time anything bad happens to anybody, they need to get seven figures.

  128. What? "Most people made about four million dollars a year in 1979"?

    Which country are you referring to or was this a typo?

  129. What would 444 days of torture, blindfolding, hoping the more moderate captors would keep you alive and out of the hands of the extremists that just want to shoot you, and being kept from your loved ones be worth to you Mike?

  130. Sarcasm. Perhaps you've heard of it?

  131. Will the U.S. Now Pay damages to all the (for one) Iraqi families that suffered the war declared on Iraq based on a lie? How many lives did Bush and Cheney destroy or harm there?

  132. Tens of thousands.

  133. These Iraqi families should look to Sadaam Hussein for compensation. Oh, wait, he was hanged after a trial by his peers in Iraq. By the way, it has been proven over and over again that the United States was justified in its Irq invasion. Hussein perpetrated a lie about possessing weapons of mass destruction, and he refused to allow full inspections by international investigators.

  134. Paul, we are all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. You've got the facts in this case seriously wrong, and after all this time, I must conclude that yours, like so many other blind ideologues, is willful ignorance.

  135. Does anyone know what Stockdale or McCain or Denton or any of the numerous Vietnam War POWs, many held more than 2000+ days, received any extra compensation other than their back pay?

  136. Presumably they received nothing beyond back pay and allowances.

    When a war ends the losing country does not pay money to each victorious solder killed, wounded or taken prisoner.

    Each nation follows it own rules for compensation.

  137. Sometimes, sometimes, justice triumphs.

  138. But mostly it's just us.

  139. It would be interesting to know the formula in determining the payout. Then it could be applied to every veteran, deceased veteran's wife or children or great grandchildren or other decendants. And now, apply the above formula to the Revolutionary War and to every war thereafter.

    I almost forgot; let's include every American Indian and their descendants.

    Who was the congressional bagman slipping this into the budget?

  140. From whom, when and how much compensation will the Iranian people who were victimized by the British American coup against their democratic government followed by installing the dictator the Shah of Iran in power and years of overt and covert American socioeconomic political miltary war against Iran?

  141. What organisation is spinning these absurd talking points, so vigourously on Christmas Eve? Did not whatever group sponsoring this twaddle not instruct its adherents to at least -try- and vary the presentation?

  142. And the damage they continue to suffer from ongoing US sanctions and other aggressive US policies toward Iran.

  143. A moot point, if there is one at all.

  144. This should be a triumph for international law, but sadly it is not. Iran was clearly accountable for the violation of one of the most basic principles of international relations, that is the immunity of embassy personnel. The American diplomatic personnel never should have been seized and held and compensation should have come from impounded Iranian assets, not US taxpayers.

    But one has to wonder what this reporter is talking about when he labels this event "state sponsored terrorism." It is precisely this view of international law that has earned the US the title of international hypocrite.

    International law seems to apply to all states, except the US. Do we forget the court ruling against the US for our mining of the harbor in Nicaragua? Was that state sponsored terrorism? How about our assassination efforts to kill Castro, state terrorism? How about our state sponsored proxy wars ? El Salvador, 85,000 dead; Nicaragua, 45,000 dead, Angola, 500,000 dead and of course Iran. I saw the photos of the peaceful student protestors that were slaughtered by the Shah's police. They numbered in the thousands. Was that state sponsored terrorism?

    Like most Americans i oppose terrorism whether carried out by lone individuals with a political motive or carried out at the behest of governments for their political ends. But i object to a definition that gives my own government an automatic exemption. We imperil our world and ourselves by doing so. One need only look around to see this.

  145. No "International Law" should ever be permitted to overrule our sovereignty. We dismissed the powdered wigs in 1776.

  146. Regarding the tu quoque arguments that bring up the 1953 coup and the U.S. support for the Shah--Countries pursue various policies which their embassies represent. Nowhere in international law is the seizure of an embassy and the hostage-taking of its personnel considered a legally or morally justified act. The Iranian government was within its rights to break off diplomatic relations with the U.S. and may have had sound moral reason to do so; it totally stepped over the line with the seizure.

  147. "Nowhere in international law is the seizure of an embassy and the hostage-taking of its personnel considered a legally or morally justified act. "

    But sponsoring a coup is? Funny this international law, I guess. "Justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger."

  148. That, again, is the tu quoque argument. I never said that sponsoring a coup is justified and your response is, in fact, non-responsive.


  149. I dont get it I am sorry.

    These victims were USA govt employees, many CIA or high military no less, and we now "specially compensate" them for being held hostage? Is that a thing we do now? Should not that financial payoff come out of the existing USA military budget?

    A payoff to govt employees is counter-intuitive and smells funny.

  150. Please read the article again!!!!!

  151. Atom: because I missed something while reading it? You say zero and then use 4 exclamation points.

  152. I am happy for these good people and as a taxpayer, am happy to do this. The hostages did not know this captivity was going to happen. A US soldier *knows* that he or she is going into harms way to protect us. Their families scrape by in their absence and worry that they will not return. 4.4M is a reasonable number to compensate these families if a soldier dies or becomes permanently disabled. Goodness knows it is a drop in the bucket compared to the trillion we spent in Iraq.

  153. Gerry says, "A US soldier *knows* that he or she is going into harms way to protect us."

    So using your logic, what about the ones who were actually military because some of them were? Are you saying those should not be specially compensated? Your logic makes that point unclear. Why cannot the standard USA military budget "assist" these families? Not sure you thought thru your idea totally.

  154. As a taxpayer I am outraged.

    What an incredible waste of government money.

    And I will bet $4.4 million that the Republicans are behind it as part of their effort to enhance their political power and government control by emphasizing the "dangers of terrorism."

  155. Didn't bother to read the article either, eh?

  156. It is good that Iran is taking responsibility for the American diplomatic personnel who were illegally detained.

    Now, when will the U.S. take responsibility for the tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who were detained and tortured by the the SAVAK, the secret police of the autocratic Shah, the dictator that the C.I.A. imposed upon the Iranians by illegally overthrowing the Iranian democracy in 1953?

  157. They aren't taking any responsibility - the money is a fine against the bank. Iran couldn't care any less about the former hostages than they do the worthless nuclear agreement.

  158. SAVAK detained Iraqis? Was that before or after the Iraq-Iranian war, when Iran conquered Iraq and then placed Saddam Hussein on the Peacock Throne as a US puppet? That was Jimmy Carter too, wasn't it?

  159. Sorry but your facts are completely wrong. It was Reagan and North who delayed the release of the hostages. The RNC should who should have paid the hostages.

  160. Wow, a lot of bitter Scrooges here today (it being Christmas Eve and all). I think that every single one of the former hostages is certainly entitled to compensation for what they went through. I'm glad that the money is coming from a private source connected to Iran rather than from taxpayer funds (we don't owe the former hostages for their pain and suffering, Iran does). And as far as victims of U.S. misadventures in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East getting compensation, if they want to come forward and make a claim, I'm not aware of any obstacle to them doing so.

  161. " I'm glad that the money is coming from a private source connected to Iran rather than from taxpayer funds (we don't owe the former hostages for their pain and suffering, Iran does)."

    Of course you are. Americans are always happy when they extort money from the rest of the world to enrich themselves.

  162. abo, seeing that you're writing from France, if you don't want the U.S. to penalize a French bank for violating international sanctions against Iran, perhaps you should write the bank and suggest that they not do business with Iran.

  163. @Rick. They were not "international" sanctions. BNP was fined for violating American sanctions. Of course, since you are writing from New York, you probably confuse "American" with "international." And as I am typing this, there are 8 people who have recommended your comment who apparently are as equally misinformed.

  164. Once again, the lottery determines our winners and losers. These victims' grieving families did nothing to deserve a dime from anyone, certainly not "up to $4 MM. This is just a windfall that should be put into a fund to create parkland or something to cover some of the massive US taxpayer costs incurred by this hostage taking. Why not create a small national park and name it the Iran Hostage Park? Well of course if this happens, 53 hostages or families will suddenly not become part of the "1% Club." As usual, this is sickening for all those who give so much with not so much as thanks. As Trump would say, "all these people did was sit in a jail cell," something millions of Americans do every day, and if they are black, they probably were picked up for doing nothing but being black.

  165. You could NOT possibly be more wrong, rude or insulting to these victims and their families for the torture they suffered!

  166. $10,000 per day for being a hostage? Makes the soldiers trying to rescue them seem underpaid.

  167. They "deserve" ZERO

  168. What about compensation for destroying Iran's democracy and installing a brutal dictator for decades? I'm thinking trillions.

  169. Micheal is Farsi for what?

  170. It is ludicrous that it took 36 years to compensate the Iranian hostages for their year of captivity and terror at the hands of the religious fanatics of Iran. That said, this compensation will bring every aggrieved victim of terrorism out of the woodwork to demand reparations. Just what our federal government, which is $18.5 trillion in debt, cannot afford.

  171. You didn't read the article, did you?

  172. Well, merry christmas everyone. WE are paying them $10,000 a DAY? No wonder food stamps were cut and seniors denied a Social Security cost of living wage while their insurance rates continue to go up. There are REALLY important things to do with the money - like give the attorneys almost half the money (in the $110 million range) for "time and expenses". The good old American way - obscene wealth for a few and peanuts for the rest of us - if we're lucky. Those will probably be the next to go.

  173. Hmmmm.........4 million for 5 years non-working captivity in safe conditions.
    Better than government work.

  174. Actually, no, WE the taxpayers are NOT paying for this settlement. It is coming out of a private penalty levied on a foreign bank for violating international sanctions against Iran.

  175. Dmj, you really don't know what they went through, do you? Please read up on it then comment.

  176. The US hostages from the Iran embassy crisis have lucked out; had the BNP Paribas money not been available they likely wouldn't have received anything.

    I think the questions raised in these comments warrant consideration: Why is the compensation so high? What has the US done to compensate Iranians (and citizens of numerous other countries) where it has helped overturn governments? What has the US done to compensate the families of those killed when it shot down that Iranian airliner? What has the US done to compensate all those in dozens (hundreds?) of countries where its often undeclared wars led to civilian injuries and death and to widespread destruction of property?

    As much as so many Americans love America, it must be remembered that many people in many countries hate the US not because we believe in democracy but because the US has, through overt and covert means, caused so much death and destruction throughout the world.

  177. "What has the US done to compensate the families of those killed when it shot down that Iranian airliner?"
    300,000 dollars for wage earners and 150,000 dollars for non wage earners in 1996.

  178. Foreign nationals can be compensated by their own governments. You want the US out of other's business, right?

  179. I suppose the US an Britain should apologize for the 1953 coup.
    Then the Iranian government can apologize for the hostage taking
    Then the US can apologize for for the Iranian passenger jet in addition to the money that was already awarded.
    Then Iran can apologize for sending proxy Shia militias to kill hundreds of American troops during the Iraq war.
    Then Iran can apologize for imprisoning journalists as spies simply because they ask questions.

  180. There's no evidence that Iran sent Shia militias into Iraq or that Iran forces proxy or otherwise killed "hundreds of American troops.

    We overthrew the predominantly Sunni government of Iraq and fired all the Baathist including most of the Army. In effect we installed a Shia government with a forlorn hope that the could deal with the Sunni minority.

    The Iraq war effectively created ISIL which is Sunni in general. Shia militia, some of the Iranian backed, are fighting against ISIL.

    The reality since the invasion of Iraq is dismal enough without unwarranted fiction. This doesn't make the Iranian government and leadership as a bunch of nice guys.

  181. "There's no evidence that Iran sent Shia militias into Iraq or that Iran forces proxy or otherwise killed 'hundreds of American troops.'"

    Sorry jmc but According to the State Department they did.

    Also according to General Petraeus too where he says,
    “When we captured the leaders of these so-called special groups … and the deputy commander of a Lebanese Hezbollah department that was created to support their efforts in Iraq, we’ve learned a great deal about how Iran has, in fact, supported these elements and how those elements have carried out violent acts against our forces, Iraqi forces and innocent civilians.”

    Or this Guardian newspaper article http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/28/qassem-suleimani-iran-iraq-...

    Also, you admit that some shia militias are Iranian backed in the fight against ISIL.

    So why do you believe that it's such a stretch that these same militias were not Iranian backed during the Iraq War when they were attacking US forces?

  182. This is terrible news unless a reciprocal payment is made to individual Iranians for America's involvement in the overthrow of Mossadegh, the CIA's teaching SAVAK how to torture and kill dissidents, and underpaying for Iran's oil.

  183. uh, whose pocket do you think all these payments are coming out of??
    Maybe taxpayers can have a choice on their returns to opt in for an extra tax contribution to fund these payments, and leave the rest of us out of these bright ideas.

  184. Taxpayers are not being asked to put A SINGLE PENNY into this. The funds are coming out of a multi-billion dollar penalty against a foreign bank for violating international sanctions against Iran.

  185. You should read the actual story before making comments like that - it isn't our tax money.

  186. Whoa! Talk about opening a can o' worms! From the British-American coup to an "Iranian Hostage National Park"?...

  187. So now any solider, diplomat or private citizen travelling and is captured by anyone? and held will be eligible for a payout? I'm sorry but all of these people understood the risk when they signed up for the job, especially the military who where paid as on active duty while being held captive.

  188. I wonder what Donald Trump will have to say about compensating the Iran hostages:
    "Well these people shouldn't have become prisoners!"

  189. Perhaps you should wonder about more significant things....

  190. Shameful!
    Undoubtedly, there were some innocents among the hostages, however compensating CIA agents and soldiers who were there to keep the Shah in power by colluding with the SAVAK to violently suppress the opposition is shameful.

  191. Do you really know anything about the situation or are you just able to throw around the word SAVAK? The shah was well out of power and exiled at the time of the invasion of the US Embassy in Iran. No-one was there in order to keep him in power.

    That having been said, $4.4million per hostage so that an attorney with fashionable glasses should get a multi multi million payout is excessive...really excessive

  192. The victims of the embassy siege in Tehran are entitled to restitution, but it's Iran, that should dig into its pockets. It's a pity that there is no international judiciary that can make Iran pay compensatory damages to the hostages for their 444 days of sufferings and humiliations.

  193. Iran is paying....read the article!

  194. @ATOM, the money comes from the $9 bn penalty paid by BNP.
    "Mr. Sickmann said that he would have preferred that Iran pay compensation directly, as Libya did for victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland."

  195. I have read through these comments, most of which reflect a vicious and frightening animus to the US government. If the commenters hate America so much, one of the few nations on earth, in which they can make such derogatory remarks about their beloved nation, then why don't they go live somewhere else? Perhaps, they would enjoy life in Iran, the nation where their sympathies obviously lie based on their remarks regarding the 1953 coup. At that time, Iran was friendly toward the USSR, America toppled the government to setup a friendly one more aligned with US interests, the interests of the West, the interests of freedom, and the interests of Christianity. What the commenters fail to understand, or chose to ignore, is the purpose of America. In the 20th century, America led the world to victory over the axis powers in WWI, led the world to victory over Nazism and Japanese Imperialism in WWII, and led the world to the ultimate defeat of Communism! The 1953 coup was part of that mission to confront and defeat evil. America should be leading the world with the same determination against terrorism, of which the takeover of the US embassy was an episode. But sadly and shamefully, America was retreated from its mission to fight for goodness and righteousness throughout the world. I will leave it at that. Cheers!

  196. Well if your idea of freedom is having the CIA go in and topple a democratically elected government then you are insane. Also, your comment reflects the crazy notion that America is all about Christianity, That may be your cup of tea but as an American who likes to think and speak freely, it is not mine. I am no friend to Iran or Islam,(or any other religion,) and I'm not about to pack up and move anywhere because some nationalistic misanthrope doesn't share my opinion.

  197. I disagree with you on most things, including the 1953 coup (which was one of a number of instances in which the U.S. short-sightedly backed exceedingly repressive regimes and thus made a mockery of our democratic ideals simply because they were anti-Communist). But I do agree that (i) the 1979 embassy takeover was completely unjustified, (ii) the former hostages deserve compensation from their ordeal and (iii) the sentiment expressed in many of the comments are disturbing. They're quite ill-informed as well; it doesn't look like ANY of them bothered to read the part which says that the funds will come from the penalty levied against a foreign bank for violating international sanctions against Iran. Instead, they automatically assumed that taxpayers are footing the bill for this, then used that as a jumping-off point to go on a "I Hate America / America Is Evil" rant.

  198. "They're quite ill-informed as well; it doesn't look like ANY of them bothered to read the part which says that the funds will come from the penalty levied against a foreign bank for violating international sanctions against Iran"

    Rick, this is the fourth comment I've seen you post where you have shown you do not know what you are talking about. BNP was not fined for violating international sanctions against Iran. BNP did not violate international sanctions against Iran. BNP was fined for violating American sanctions against Iran. And he who is mis-informed, complains about someone being "quite misinformed." Typical.

  199. Some public interest taxpayer group should sue to block this outrageous payout on the grounds that it is self-dealing by the US government to its own former officials and contractors.

  200. This is satisfying to me, having spent many days among mobs in front to the U.S. embassy during the takeover. At that time, an armed violation of an embassy was a world altering shock. As an American reporter trying to understand individual motives for those chanting "Death to America" Death to Carter" "Death to the Shah", my most astonishing discovery was the total absence of any shared human ground on which to communicate. In the physical surges of the mob, t was reassuring that alcohol was forbidden there.
    Still, it seemed apparent that the CIA engineered overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh way back in 1953 was still present as live fuel. Some of the "students" who took the embassy have recently said they invaded to protect the new revolution from another coup coming out of that embassy. I remember a conversation with president Bani Sadr early in the standoff in which the Mossadegh overthrow was presented as a live issue. While Khomeini did not bring it up in an interview, his judgment of the American captives was that they had simply continued the historical subversion of iran's sovereignty. Stephen Kinzer's book, All the Shah's Men, An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror fully supports its title. But despite the stain of our culpability, it is satisfying that the compensation of American captives brings an ending a long unfinished chapter. And gives reason to remember the whole story. Especially since regime change is still in play.

  201. THE Timing for this "Gesture" is Suspect so to "Poison Public Opinion On Iran" as we are about to implement the JCPOA.

    AND other commenters here have made sufficient arguments on how the US is going to compensate Iran for all its misadventures since 1953.

    I would be more interested in "Compensating The Gun Violence Victims In The US" as last year alone over 30,000 Americans were slaughtered by Americans courtesy of the NRA.

    OR more importantly how the House of Saud will be charged so to compensate the Victims of Al-Qaida and ISIS worldwide.

  202. Frankly ridiculous. And how many families of the one million Iraqis killed during the U.S. War of Choice in Iraq were compensated by the U.S.? Wasn't that an act of even worse terrorism than the fate that befell the hostages?

    While I don't condone any form of terrorism or hostage taking I abhor the double standards applied in favour of Americans doing their duty and surviving to tell the tale, when compared with the fate of innocent civilians murdered from the skies as a result of a false flag operation.

  203. The sheer volume of duplicative spam on this article is astonishing. That each repeats, nearly verbatim, the same talking points makes it both recognisable and useless. One can only wonder who or what is the spam master?

  204. What you refer to as 'duplicative spam' is actually 'like-minded opinion'. No one is to blame if you cannot tell the difference.

    The compensation is so ridiculously unproportional and inappropriate that NYT readers have come out en masse to criticize it.

  205. And precisely why Iran remains on the US enemy list: because it calls the US out for its blatant hypocrisy around the world!

  206. Once again, the fundamental and constant rule rings true:

    "Whenever somebody says, 'It's not the money, it's the principle!' -- you can be absolutely sure of one thing: "It's the money!"

  207. AAhhhh . . . in America money soothes all wounds.

  208. Typical behavior. American arrogance.
    US Navy shot down Iran air flight 655 over Iranian territorial waters, in clear violation of international laws, killing more than 270 Iranians, including children, and while they never formally apologized, they paid 150K per non wage earner victims, 227K AFI.
    Now they are demanding 4.4 million dollars, nearly 10K per day, for every american hostage, some of whom were CIA operatives. The amount is to be paid from Iranian frozen assets in the US.
    An Iranian child's life = 30 days worth of a CIA agent's time.
    Guess we should sue the US for both real, subsequent and punitive damages of the 1953 coup. And for clean up costs of their " eagle claw " operation, and more recently, their crashed UAV.

  209. Guess Iran shouldn't violated international law protecting the staff of foreign embassies.

    But, don't worry. Obama, a friend of a country his own State Department still lists as one of just three "State Sponsors of Terrorism", has engineered a deal giving you hundreds of billions with which to continue to finance attacks on our homeland.

    From our State Department web site:

    "Countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism are designated pursuant to three laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. Taken together, the four main categories of sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

    Designation under the above-referenced authorities also implicates other sanctions laws that penalize persons and countries engaging in certain trade with state sponsors. "

    It seems our President is above the law. He should be impeached.

  210. Listing Obama as a friend of Iran is simply a manifestation of Obama Derangement Syndrome. Iran, however opposed to the U.S., hasn't been linked to any attacks on our homeland. Further, the agreement on the nuclear issue doesn't violate the Export Administration Act. Nothing in that accord involves the U.S. in defense exports and sales, or the other restrictions.

  211. They were imprisoned against international law protecting members of foreign embassies. Why was their being paid reparations by Iran not a precondition to the deal Obama just made that provides Iran with hundreds of billions of dollars and a timetable for their development in just 10 years of nuclear armed missiles?

    One comment suggested they were used by Reagan to win the presidency! Oh, the hypocrisy! Where is the condemnation of the worst President since WWII but for Nixon, the weak and ineffectual Jimmy Carter, for his unwillingness to mount the type of campaign that was clearly called for? Reagan did not make a deal to achieve their release. His posture regarding such affronts made it clear that Iran was to suffer very serious consequences if they were not released.

  212. Wrong. Wrong. And wrong. Nice try though.

  213. NeverLift, the comments (there were more than one) referencing Reagan were almost certainly bringing up the much-rumored "October Surprise." I don't know all the details, and it has never been definitively proven (to my knowledge), but the basic outline is this:

    1. By October 1980, President Carter had reportedly reached an agreement with the Iranian regime to have the hostages released that month. Coming right before that year's presidential election, it would have been a major boost to his re-election chances.
    2. No doubt aware of what such a development might mean to their candidate's chances for victory, the Reagan campaign is said to have gone behind the Carter Administration's back and reached a secret deal with Iran to delay the release of the hostages until after the election.
    3. In the end? On November 4, 1980, Reagan trounced Carter, 489-49 in the electoral college, the worst electoral vote defeat ever for an incumbent president. The hostages were not released until minutes after Reagan's inauguration on January 20, 1981.

  214. Factually incorrect.
    The deal to release the hostages was already completed prior to Reagan taking office.
    As to 'unwillingness to mount the type of campaign that was clearly called for', your ignorance is unfathomable.
    Carter put ALL of the key decisions in the hands of the most trusted Special Ops commander who emerged from Viet Nam. He basically said to do whatever was needed and stayed out of the details of the operation.
    The FAILURE of the operation had nothing to do with any decision Carter did or did not make. The military man in charge made a fateful decision based on his ignorance of flying helicopters in areas with too much loose sand. When the helicopters had problems the mission failed.
    Regan was, and will remain, an ignorant rube who should have been impeached for Iran-Contra and, further, displayed his total lack of judgment in the deaths of 250 plus Marines in Lebanon.

  215. If every government had to pay equitable compensation to the victims of every stupid, or unjust, or grasping greedy action they were responsible for, then the taxes would grind the world economy to a halt.

  216. No government is paying this. A French bank is for violating U.S. sanctions. Read the article.

  217. DR - on the other hand this could make for vast improvements, being a deterrent.

  218. I wrote: "If every government had to pay..."
    Dr wrote: "No government is paying this. A French bank is for violating U.S. sanctions. Read the article."

    I was not clear in my comment. I was responding to the many pleas for the USA to be held responsible for its role in 1953 usurpation of the Iranian government. But thank you for your response.

  219. Has our country been held accountable for the CIA's overthrow of the democratically-elected Mossadegh government in 1953. This most likely led to the mistrust that Iranians had for the U.S. embassy and the hostage crisis.

    Read Stephen Kinzer's "All the Shah's Men" and this article in the Guardian.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/cia-admits-role-1953-irania...

  220. I was backpacking the world in 1981 and thrown in Jail for 3 days in Northern Zimbabwe by Mugabe regime for being a CIA Spy! (True Story). Where do I sign up for my $30k ?

  221. 1) Consult with an attorney;
    2) Find out if a lawsuit against the Mugabe family is possible; 3) Find out if a lawsuit against Northern Zimbabwe is possible;
    4) If so, file a lawsuit.

  222. Where you backpacking on behalf of the US government? If not, you have no basis for such a claim.

  223. Wow - just wow - reparations for these folk and their descendants?

    Wonder what the African American community has to say about this?

    This is truly amazing..

  224. What's wrong with it?

  225. What Middle school did you graduate from, if you want an answer better ask the Moors, Brits, Portuguese , it started well before the US was even a twinkle

  226. Bad analogy. Slavery in the English colonies preceded any American government. It was also a normal part of life in most or all of the world up to the time of the 1787 Philadelphia Convention. I do not know of a single country at the time where slavery was illegal. Do you? What country was that?

    The idea that no one should be a slave does not come from Africa or China or India or pre-Columbian America or the Polynesia. It comes from Western Europe, mainly Britain. If you think slavery is inherently immoral then you are a product of Western Civilization even if you choose not to be aware of that.

    When Iran seized the hostages, there were international laws against that act. Such was not the case for slavery when the Portuguese began buying them from Africa in 1444. If you want compensation for slavery for American blacks, I suggest you sue the African countries that sold their people to white European slavers during the next four centuries.

  227. Ok, this makes no sense.
    If we're rewarding hostages, why wouldn't we be rewarding those who died in battle, or are forever maimed, for incredibly stupid foreign policy decisions (e.g. invading Iraq or perpetuating VietNam after the French left)?
    Public service with the government is just that.....service.
    We've become a society where every hardship is now viewed as demanding recompense. Where does this stop?
    These hostages fared far far better than those who are taken by the Taliban or ISIL. To my knowledge, none were tortured or abused.
    An irresponsible political act that has 'feel good' written all over it.

  228. Maybe you should learn to read - since you obviously haven't read the story. It's not government money - it's authorization to distribute funds intended for settlements all along.

    And maybe a mental examination if you've somehow forgotten George W Bush is generally regarded as the worst president in American history. Among other things he is irresponsible for the criminal Iraq War based on lies - and that created ISIL.

    Public service does not include imprisonment for a year and 79 days.

    Saint Ronnie was at the time engaged in illegally trading Arms to Iran to raise money for an illegal war against the Contras in Nicaraugua. Reagan himself signed into law the Boland Amendment which specifically bar any financial support to the forces trying to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.

    Some people don't bother to get an of the facts before something gushes out.

  229. People killed or wounded in wartime ARE compensated by the government. And this was no mere "hardship." It was physical and mental torture over more than a year. No one signs up for that. I can't believe the pettiness of some of the commenters here.

  230. Payments are not from tax dollars paid by you and me. Several comments wrongly object to spending tax dollars to compensate the former hostages.

    Payments are only possible because the Paris-based bank BNP Paribas paid a $9,000,000,000 fine for violating sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba. (Re-read the paragraph below the picture of Rodney V. Sickmann.)

  231. The $9 billion is owned by the US government as a fine for violating sanctions.

    One could argue that the money should be used to compensate big U.S. banks that lost profits as a result of the embargo while BNP Paribas had an unfair competitive advantage as a result of ignoring the embargo.

    Even that would make more sense than a massive taxpayer reward for the hostages, which appears designed to make the politicians look like they are somehow fighting terrorism.

  232. Thank you, Cynthia. Shameful that people who have such strong and negative opinions about the Iranian hostages receiving compensation did not read the article!

  233. I'm guessing that many of these comments are coming out of Iran, or may even originate from the Iranian government. I wish the NYTimes had some way to flag or filter this.

  234. @Bill, so you are concluding that the overwhelming criticism of the compensation must, by its very nature, be the work of Iranian Government trolls?

    You believe that the only people commenting are Iranian Government sources because Americans are too busy celebrating Christmas to take the time to read and comment on the NYT?

    Isn't this conclusion more than a little self-serving?

  235. Leave it to Congress--and some crusading lawyers, no doubt--to transform the image of the hostages from stoic heroes into self-righteous greedheads. Just in time for Christmas, too.

  236. This is absurd. A fleecing of the taxpayer! These former hostages were doing the jobs they were paid to do, taking risks they should have understood. Up until I read this today, I considered them heroes. Not any longer.

    If they are due reparations at all, it is from Iran, not from American taxpayers. Who carried their water in Congress?

  237. According to the article it will be funded by a BNP Paribas settlement of about $9 billion a portion of which will be used to fund payments to the hostages or their families (for deceased hostages). We certainly have spent much more money on
    much worse causes.

  238. Relax. This isn't costing the taxpayer anything. The money is from a fund set aside for this purpose, paid for by the French bank BNP as part of a $8.9 billion fine the bank will pay for violating U.S. sanctions and doing business with Iranian and Sudanese clients.

  239. The taxpayer is NOT being asked to foot ONE SINGLE PENNY of this. It's coming out of a private penalty levied against a foreign bank for violating international sanctions against Iran. Read the article, people.

  240. Insane!!! Working in an embassy in a foreign country is a dangerous job. You know it going in. Why do we feel that each time something bad happens, the victim is entitled to restitution from the government. This law will encumber us with tens of millions of unnecessary payments.

    This goes for football players as well. If you choose to play a game where a 300 lb guy will run into you and knock you down, you have to assume your body will suffer over time. Don't want the pain, find a safer job.

  241. Times have changed. This was not part of the curriculum in those days. No doubt there are classes now : "Hostage and torture handling 101", right?

  242. This sets a terrible precedent, one we will regret for years to come.

  243. Why? We're NOT paying this out of taxpayer funds, but rather out of a private penalty levied against a foreign bank for violating international sanctions against Iran. What exactly is it that you find objectionable here?

  244. Rick. I guess u need to be educated. A fine imposed by a federal court becomes taxpayer funds and needs to be appropriated. This is a bad precedent. And an affront to legal jurisprudence.

  245. @gardedan. Rick needs to be informed about a lot of things. He has repeated at least 3 times in this thread that BNP was fined for violating "international" sanctions against Iran. It was not. BNP did not violate international sanctions against Iran. BNP was fined for violating American sanctions against Iran.

  246. gee whiz the interred american japanese citizens had to wait longer for their reparations. most of them had died off before the nineties. these are some lucky hostage family members.

  247. This is the American right-wing Congress acting ... primarily trying to advance it's notion that Iran is more evil than we were, eg, in the destruction of Iraq (Bush), the destruction of civil rights in El Salvador (Reagan), the regimes changes and the deaths that went with them in Iran, in Chile, and in Guatemala and a half-dozen other L.A. nations.

    Another can of worms from our great GOP.

  248. The US was not responsible for the Chilean coup of 1973 that overthrew Salvador Allende. All the US did in that event was give assistance to the Chilean military to do something it would have done anyway and could have accomplished without US support. Allende had turned a blind eye to a campaign of lawless violence led by Carlos Altamirano. The Allende regime was also receiving arms shipments from Soviet block governments, mainly Cuba, to subvert democracy in Chile. Yes, Allende came to power through the democratic process, as did Hitler. And he had about as much respect for democracy as had Hitler. Your comment perpetuates a very distorted view of the Chilean coup that has been part of ill-informed American culture for over forty years.

  249. Haerdly. The American public was never informed of the role the US played in that regime change, from Allende, a much loved leader to the violently rightist Pinochet and the end of democracy under his rule. The American public has been clueless on what we've done due our relentlessly quaking fear of social upheavals that result from our need to control all people on behalf of our 'economic model' of stripping the environment for endless profit and mindless corporate "growth". If you don't grasp this, ask the thousands of ghosts of the 'disappeared' under our man Pinochet.

  250. (1) Pinochet was Allende's man, not ours. Allende appointed him in August, 1973.

    (2) Allende was much loved by some and much despised by others. His economic policies devastated the Chilean economy. Even Soviet economists said as much.

    (3) He was also much despised by the Chilean Supreme Court as expressed in its letter to Allende of 25 June 1973 denouncing Allende's violations of the Chilean constitution.

    (4) Allende was also despised by the Chilean miners who went on strike in April, 1973. And the students and doctors who went on strike in June, 1973.

    (5) You are correct about the American people being clueless about Chilean history. You, Christopher Hitchens and Peter Kornbluh are prime examples.

  251. By analogy, our soldiers are put in danger every day in the middle east and elsewhere, and work for peanuts. Its time to fairly compensate all of those who fight for our freedom.

  252. Particularly so because they are not fighting for our freedom but for oil.

  253. Anyone ask Jimmy Carter his thoughts on this compensation? This event occurred under his watch. Wonder if he will claim some responsibility for terror these individuals sffered.

  254. Carter would have compensated them the day they came home. Reagan used them as political props and abandoned them.

  255. Brock the Dems controlled the House in 1981 and the Senate in 1986. I don't recall any bills on compensation. The Iranian funds frozen should have been used to compensate them for their suffering. Not US taxpayer funds!

  256. gardedan, compensation for the former hostages was clearly NOT a high legislative priority for most of the past 35 years (almost) since they were released. But there was also the question of where the money would have come from. Part of the deal to release the hostages was that they could not seek restitution from the Iranian government. Presumably Iran would not have agreed to release the hostages if not for this prohibition. Another part of the deal was the unfreezing of Iranian funds held in the U.S.; presumably Iran would not have agreed to release the hostages in the absence of this provision as well. Many would have balked at the use of taxpayer funds to compensate the hostages; just see the comment thread here from those who erroneously believe taxpayer funds to be involved in this instance. The funding source had to be related to Iran in some at least semi-plausible way. That's where the BNP Paribas sanctions came in.

  257. I guess none of the money for the victims is coming from the Iranian government, right? And who's gonna complain, right?

  258. Really,
    I can't believe people feel the need to impugn these people. It was not part of their duty to be hostages.

  259. Agreed, that part of the comments is truly shameful and reprehensible.

  260. No one entering US Foreign Service gets automatically posted to Paris or London... it is much more likely they would be given assignments in places like Iran or less developed countries. The amount of risk has grown considerably as embassies and foreign offices have become the target of terrorists.
    Hilary said that we used to send people out into the field and not hear from them for months. maybe that trivialization was Ok a couple of centuries ago, but times have changed a lot.
    The US owes much to the people who are in our Foreign Service. Their staff in Iran, Benghazi and other offices who have been harmed through no fault of their own should deserve our compassion and respect and should be compensated.
    To those who think these people are receiving a "windfall" and don't deserve it, shame on you!

  261. Good to see that these guys will finally get justice for what they went through doing the Iran's crisis...Hope the money comes out the money of Iran's pocket.

  262. Really? Our own government kills innocent people in the 3rd world and offers $3500 and an apology. We hold innocent people in jail for a decades, torture them, and finally let them go. If US hostages deserve $4.4 million then former Gitmo hostages deserve more. And I'm talking only about the hundreds who were innocent. Explain to me the difference.

  263. I would try, but clearly i would be wasting my time.

  264. The place held 800 at maximum. About 200 were released quite soon after their detention. So of the remaining 600 how many were innocent, as you say? And how do you know all this? Where is that country we can all move to whose judicial and detention systems are better than ours? Maybe Venezuela? Cuba? China? Get a grip.

  265. I find it terribly ironic that the members of Congress who were so opposed to the nuclear deal or any discussion with Iran, and therefore helped push the compensation deal, are the same ones who likely would never have supported having an embassy in Iran in the first place, or doing any sort of diplomatic work with most Middle East countries.

  266. How do you know that? You state that more than likely they wouldn't have wanted an Embassy in Iran. You have no idea what would have been then. The nuclear deal is still bad and Iran has already broken the deal. Do you think they're going to say Gee sorry we won't do it again?

  267. Is some of the money coming from Ronald Reagan's estate? You know, the guy who made a deal with the Iranians to keep the hostages until the minute he was inaugurated?

  268. That's a ridiculous allegation.

  269. Not really, when you consider that a guy who worked in the Reagan White House named Oliver North got the nod to sell WEAPONS to Iran--yes, that same hostage-taking Iran--and send the money to the so-called Contras in El Salavador. This was to go around a specific Congressional ban on supporting *those* murderers. North became an instant hero of the far right wing of the day and was nearly elected to the US Senate by Virginia.

  270. Yankee man ... The Contras were in Nicaragua, not El Salvador ... although Reagan did support the military killers of El Salvador ... the affects of we still feel today ( ie. 40,000 children showing up at the border fleeing the drug gang ruled Central American countries )

  271. The article doesn't say why the courts prevented Congress from enacting compensation. This is an important issue and should be explained.

  272. Perhaps Iran would apologize to Mr. Sickmann for the Hostage Crisis if the U.S. first apologized to Iran for overthrowing the democratically elected Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953. The CIA followed up by installing the Shah of Iran who was more than happy to brutalize the Iranian people for 25 years, all the while protecting Western business interests. That eventually led to the Islamic counter-revolution. Much of the Religious fundamentalism and politic turmoil in today's Middle East is blowback from 1953. PS: I am not writing this from Iran.

  273. It's nice to see that when it really wants to, our government can move swiftly.

  274. Sounds like a bargain when you consider how much the Kochs have to spent to manipulate elections today.

  275. The Kochs spent less than George Soros. Why is he never mentioned by the liberals ?

  276. That's what you are here for.

  277. I didn't mention George Soros because Ronald Reagan wasn't a Democrat. And you might want to check your facts on who spends more.

  278. As with everything that happens with the current administration it's not what it seems. iran hasn't been made to pay anything. The money is taken from a fine arbitrarily and unilaterally imposed by the Justice department on a foreign entity. And the actual, ultimate payout of the amount and timing of such payout remain uncertain. But Mr. Obama's administration will undoubtedly claim victory. Alas ,so it goes with just about every "achievement" of this administration. From the iran deal itself to the Paris Climate deal, to the Syrian war, etc. etc. etc. it's shameful.

  279. "iran hasn't been made to pay anything."

    I'm sure Iran would've been happy to pay something right after US paid for the victims of an Iranian passenger flight it blew out of the air.

  280. Westsider - one would think you do a 10 second check of your "fact" before posting. If you did, you would find that US did pay $61.8 million dollars to the victims. In addition (and in line with your less than accurate statement), there is a world of difference between an act made in error and a very much purposeful act of imprisoning and torturing the embassy workers. Somehow I get the feeling that you are not exactly interested in an objective truth,

  281. Now it is for the Government of India, USA and other countries whose 166 Citizens were murdered by Pakistani sponsered terrorist attack in Mumbai to sue and recover money for the victims and their families. Is there any attorney reading this coment?

  282. Such a shame - it would have been much better not to have the Iran nuclear agreement than to have these people get compensation for their suffering as hostages! Why, if there was no Iran nuclear agreement, we could have invaded and overthrown the Iranian government by now and given a billion dollars or more to each hostage or his descendants from the Iranian treasury that we would have controlled!

  283. "...we could have invaded and overthrown the Iranian government by now...."

    Yeah, it would've been a cake-walk, just like in Iraq.

  284. Joseph, I think that Pierre was being sarcastic.

  285. Some compensation is justifiable. But $4.4M? Even if paid from BNP funds, that is excessive. And there are many more deserving recipients, such as people wrongfully imprisoned (often for decades) or killed by our own government, both at home and abroad. Congress remains incapable of rational thought.

  286. This is a disgrace on many levels. For one, the agreement that freed the hostages on January 20, 1981, should never have prevented the 52 from seeking damages from Iran.

    Second, what's to prevent Iran from screaming about the monetary awards being a fresh set of sanctions? New American sanctions are prohibited by the 2015 nuclear accord. Judging from recent behavior, it's clear that Iran is going to beat America over the head with the "new-sanctions-mean-a-violation-of-the-nuclear-accord-and-we're-walking-away" threat every chance it gets.

    Third, why did it take years? The money couldn't have come from Iran, but Congress could have allocated money on its own. Still, the 36-year delay means that 15 of the hostages won't see a dime, though their families presumably will.

    And finally, what about Americans who have been held (some still being held) by Iran? Do they get some of the money as well?

  287. The United States seized or froze billions of dollars around the world when Iran took the hostages. And, then it imposed sanctions for all of the intervening years.

    As for Congress, when things pass from immediate notice and impact, it moves on and "forgets" along with the public. Congress tends to deal with urgent issues and those that the public insist be acted upon. People from the Philippines who fought on the American side in WW II never received veteran's benefits and now most are dead. There are many such injustices, but your local Congressman or woman will be expecting your cheers, and your vote, next time round.

  288. I'm glad they will receive redress for their suffering, though it would more appropriately come from Iran itself,

    And I eagerly await the spending bill that compensates the ancestors of southern slaves and the victims of American wars of aggression.

  289. Many people here and around the world undergo horrible life experiences and get 0 in compensation. The families of those killed on 9-11, 2001, demanded that the entire footprint of the two World Trade towers be left open as part of the memorial to their loved ones. There were few objections, if any. People killed in car crashes get small crosses and wilting flowers beside the highway.

    For those who throw up weak objections to much belated payments, remember this: the hostages never knew from one minute to the next whether they would be killed. Try living with that for 444 days and then with the memories for the rest of your life. 4.4 million 36 years later isn't that much. The principle should be if there is money available, compensation is paid as soon as possible.

    When Iran took the hostages, it violated a very important international principle: leave diplomats alone because your diplomats are shown similar respect abroad. When the U.S. declared war on Japan and Germany, their diplomatic corps were allowed to leave peacefully without difficulty.

    For anyone who doesn't know the basic history of the region, the hostages were taken because, first, the U.S. had supported, actively, the regime of the deposed Shah of Iran and, second, because President Carter allowed the deposed Shah, dying of cancer, to receive medical treatment in the U.S. The latter act was one of fundamental humanity. The Iranian revolution replaced one repressive, dictatorial regime with another.

  290. "the hostages never knew from one minute to the next whether they would be killed..." sounds much like the situation many black Americans have when they get in a car, cross the street, go to the store, stand in front of their homes...

  291. This is wrong in so many levels. The compensation if any should be paid should come from Iranian government funds held as a result of sanctions. By using fines paid by BNP it's effectively a US taxpayer funded settlement for which US taxpayers had no culpability. The holding of the hostages was an affront to international law and standards. Iran should be held to account for the damages. What about the hostages held in Lebanon during the period? What about the ones held by other revel groups around the world?

    This sets a terrible precedent and us evidence again that US taxpayers are easy prey to get fleeced.

  292. How do you calculate that these funds came from the U.S. taxpayer? I don't get your argument. The funds would have otherwise gone to the treasury, where they would have been swallowed without notice. There was no impact on what you or anyone else pays in taxes. The federal govt. is a giant machine, an ocean liner plying the seas and 9 billion is like a small wave hitting the bow and then forgotten.

  293. I don't have a problem with using what I'll call "specifically sourced" funds for a related specific purpose. It makes sense to me that the use of funds seized from unlawful dealings with Iran be used to compensate at least some of Iran's victims. It's a more logical approach than, say, taking tobacco settlement money to pay unrelated expenses instead of funding smoking prevention or treatment programs. (Many states have been guilty of what I consider to be this malpractice.)

    (By the way, abo, you're right; those were American sanctions specifically, not international ones. I got these sanctions conflated in my mind with the ones that were at the heart of the Iran nuclear deal. My apologies. But you still might want to write BNP Paribas and suggest that its New York branch not do business with Iran.)

  294. Hey can I get a year of captivity in exchange for being a millionaire four times over?

    Please, where do I sign up.

    God Bless America.

  295. I suggest that you go to any of the former hostages themselves and ask them that question. If you're lucky, you'll only get a hard slap in the face.

  296. Well-done, yet another article about the hostages that neglects the Canadian embassy's role in saving the "Argo" group form prison and torture -- and 3 decades and more waiting for compensation. Had the ploy been discovered by the Iranian terrorists (that's what hostage-taking and -torturing people are called now), they would have been executed.

    Remember the past and the calm Canadian helpmates you had.

  297. Except for the part that mentioned it--
    "Many said they felt their ordeal had been long forgotten by the general public until the 2012 movie “Argo,” directed by Ben Affleck, which focused on six people who managed to escape from the besieged embassy and take refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor."

  298. Thanks, Bill B. The "general public" in both countries feted Taylor, who was a CIA connection at the time of the kidnapping. His life
    was in mortal danger, and those of his agents and representatives were, too. It was no easy task.

  299. America downed an Iranian plane passengers which killed more than 250 civilians, in addition to these America support Saddam Hussein in war against Iran( Iran-iraq war), when America will compensate Iranian civilians?

  300. Too bad the war between Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollahs ended. It was a wonderful spectator sport.

  301. Justice or Injustice ?? Too long in coming. Fairness is not in this equation .

  302. Holy cow! The hostility here is breathtaking.

    Yes, many Iraqis, Iranians, and more have suffered as a result of American government actions over generations. And it is not unreasonable to explore the notion of reparations or compensation. That is no reason to deny some form of compensation to the American Embassy hostages. For those of us old enough to have followed this from 1978-1980, you'll recall that this was the mainstay of American news shows literally every night. And for that same cohort who recall the news reports will also recall that the Republican candidate in 1980 - Ronald Reagan - used this crisis as the basis of the Iran-Contra fiasco. He also ensured that the hostages were held longer than they might otherwise have been in order to achieve his (Reagan's) political objectives.

  303. I say this only half-facetiously

  304. I say this only half-facetiously: considering that this crisis was such a boon to network nightly news, perhaps they could contribute to a compensation fund.

    But surely the Iranian government should pay. How can they claim to be embracing a thaw in US-Iran relations and not seize an opportunity to show a fair-minded inclination to make whole those harmed by Iran's government? Even if Iran wants to maintain the action was somehow politically justified, as some kind of appropriate defiance of the West, with the hostages innocent pawns, Iran could show goodwill by compensating - even without being forced - those harmed in the process. It would set a profound international precedent.

  305. "...Ronald Reagan - used this crisis as the basis of the Iran-Contra fiasco. He also ensured that the hostages were held longer than they might otherwise have been in order to achieve his (Reagan's) political objectives."

    Right. And the CIA killed Kennedy and we didn't really land men on the Moon.

  306. "Several of the surviving hostages and their families said that reparations were long overdue and would serve as an important symbol."

    Although I'm thrilled to hear the hostages will get some compensation, 444 days is nothing in comparison to 200 years of slavery, and their descendants are yet to receive a dime of reparations.

  307. @WestSider: This 70-something (white) grandmother was thinking the exact same thing as she read this.

  308. Margaret, I'm white too.

  309. That's because the hostages were the ones who were wrong; current descendants of slaves weren't enslaved.

  310. 2 questions jump out at me:
    should the iranian gov't be making these restitutions?
    why did it take 33 years?

  311. The hostages suffered privations and indignities that they couldn't possibly have anticipated. POW's in the military get special compensation. The hostages were in a similar position. A set stipend of $10,000 per day makes things simple and is not unlike the presumption of disability payments that POW's receive. Still. it is fairer to pay more damages to those who suffered greater injuries. Some left Tehran with surprisingly few scars. A couple are believed to have attempted suicide. With only 50 or so former hostages, it should not be difficult to determine who wrote books about the experience and went on to successful careers and who never got past the trauma. Compensation should be distributed according to the injuries suffered, not based on a simple formula of $10,000/day. You wouldn't compensate a paraplegic the same as one with a stubbed toe. Mental health injuries should be treated the same.

  312. Instead of compensating hostages, how does the US government compensate for the dead Americans in the line of duty?

  313. The death gratuity payment is $12,420, and is non-taxable. For those whose death is as a result of hostile actions and occurred in a designated combat operation or combat zone or while training for combat or performing hazardous duty, the payment is $100,000.

  314. • Insurance payment of $400,000. (Service members are automatically enrolled and insured for that amount)

    A "death gratuity" of $100,000.

    • Rent-free military family housing for up to a year or an allowance for housing. Movng expenses.

    • Up to $8,800 for burial.

    • Payment of all the service member's unused accrued leave.

    (Approximate value: $600,000)

  315. The $4M amount is the TOTAL for ALL those being compensated. NOT each.


  316. To be fair the article is poorly written on that one point:

    "would give each of the 53 hostages or their estates up to $4.4 million:"

    That whole sentence needs a revision by the editor for the sake of clarity.


  317. Buried in the huge spending bill signed into law last Friday are provisions that would give each of the 53 hostages or their estates up to $4.4 million.

    from th nyt article

  318. Actually, I think it is up to $4.4M per hostage. The article references a computation of $10,000 per day of captivity for EACH hostage. $10,000 times 444 equals $4,440,000. Not everyone will get this, because (i) some hostages were released before others and (ii) the total payment amount will be over time, not all at once.

  319. The money for the hostage compensation should come out of Iranian funds that are held and about to be released with the Iranian nuclear deal. That's only fair.