Iranian Hostage Crisis

A review of a book about the crisis precedes this posting, and there are some recent developments. A New York Times article describes how Americans taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 have been granted compensation. A recent spending bill gives each of the 53 hostages or their estates up to $4.4 million, although there are still apparently some legal hurdles to be overcome. Legal claims had previously been blocked in the courts, but a decision to force a Paris-based bank BNP Paribas to pay a $9 billion penalty for sanction violations suddenly made money available for the hostages and other victims of state-sponsored terrorism. “Congress was also motivated by many members anger over the Iran nuclear accord.”

There are 37 of the original 52 hostages still alive who will be eligible for full payments. “Spouses and children are authorized to receive a lump payment of as much as $600,000.” An additional $2.8 billion will aid victims of the September 11, 2001 attack and their family members.

Beyond the current information of the compensation for hostages there is information in the review of the book about the crisis that haunts me. Iran is dominated by radical mullahs with no interest in the future of the world. They believe millions who die in a holy war will be ushered into paradise. Nuclear deterrence means nothing to them, because a nuclear holocaust “merely” results in more martyrs. The good news is that Iran released the hostages the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President. They were worried about what actions he might take, with indicates they were more pragmatic than their strict religious beliefs indicated.

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