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1979 Iran Hostages Finally Get Their Money

Each of 37 survivors can receive up to $4.4M
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2015 12:11 PM CST
1979 Iran Hostages Finally Get Their Money
Former Iranian hostage C. Cortlandt Barnes, of Leland, NC, poses for a photo on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013.   (AP Photo/Randall Hill)

Survivors of the Iranian hostage crisis will be awarded up to $4.4 million each, more than three decades after their 444 days in captivity. The terms are laid out in a spending bill President Obama signed into law last week, which also includes reparation for victims of other terrorist attacks, including the 1998 US Embassy bombings in East Africa, reports the New York Times. The 1981 agreement that secured the release of those taken hostage at the US Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979, barred them from seeking amends. Legal appeals were later blocked, though renewed pleas for compensation followed the release of 2012's Argo. Finally, when bank BNP Paribas was forced to pay $9 billion for violating sanctions against Iran, Sudan, and Cuba, this year, Congress moved to set aside $1 billion for terrorism victims.

The 37 surviving hostages will receive up to $10,000 per day of captivity, while spouses and children can receive a lump sum of up to $600,000, per the Times. The money should be awarded within a year. "The money can't bring back family members, or the 444 days of their lives. But it would bring some closure and some justice," Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson tells the Telegraph. "I had to pull over to the side of the road, and I basically cried," a former embassy security guard says of hearing the news, noting it took "36 years, one month, 14 days" for Iran to be held accountable. "I don't believe that they will ever, ever apologize," he adds. "They don't believe that they did anything wrong." Officials note many of the hostages were tortured and continue to suffer, including from PTSD. The law signed Friday also designates $2.8 billion for victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families. (Read more Iran stories.)

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