December 24, 2015

Double Standard: Iran Hostage Crisis Victims Get Compensation

by Margaret Chadbourn and Benjamin Siegel

Thirty-six years after their capture, the Americans taken hostage in Tehran in 1979 are set to receive millions in compensation for their 444 days of captivity.

Thanks to a provision in the spending deal signed into law last week, each of the 53 hostages and their estates are set to receive up to $4.4 million, with spouses and children eligible for a $600,000 payment. . . .

The money, which will start being distributed within the year, will be taken from a new $1 billion fund established by the spending law, filled in part by fines collected by the U.S. government on companies that have illegally done business with Iran. . . .


["The president of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit to Capt. Will C. Rogers III, U.S. Navy, for service as set forth in the following citation:

"For exceptionally . . . outstanding service as commanding officer, USS Vincennes from April 1987 to May 1989--David Evans, "One Must Question The Current Value Of Military Medals,", April 6, 1990]

"Wrongful Death Compensation: Afghan $200, Iraqi $600, Indian $1200, French $1 Million, American $10 Million, Israeli-American $116 Million," The Wisdom Fund, November 26, 2003

[A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.

Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-born US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds.--Patrick Cockburn, "The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis,", April 3, 2007]

["The United States took our whole country hostage in 1953."

Few Americans remembered that Iran had descended into dictatorship after the United States overthrew the most democratic government it had ever known.--Stephen Kinzer, "Inside Iran's Fury: Scholars trace the nation's antagonism to its history of domination by foreign powers," Smithsonian Magazine, October 2008]

[During the Iran hostage crisis, Iran only agreed to free the 52 trapped Americans after the United States pledged non-intervention in Iranian affairs. As stated in the 1981 Algiers Accords, "it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs."

However, the United States has not lived up this commitment. In 1995, American news media revealed a US$18 million covert effort by the CIA to destabilize Iran, confirming Iranian suspicions of the "Great Satan".--Rob Grace, "Covert ops sabotage US-Iran ties,", October 24, 2010]

[Toward the end of the war, on July 3, 1988, a U.S. Navy ship called the Vincennes was exchanging fire with small Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy kept ships there, and still does, to protect oil trade routes. As the American and Iranian ships skirmished, Iran Air Flight 655 took off from nearby Bandar Abbas International Airport, bound for Dubai. The airport was used by both civilian and military aircraft. The Vincennes mistook the lumbering Airbus A300 civilian airliner for a much smaller and faster F-14 fighter jet, perhaps in the heat of battle or perhaps because the flight allegedly did not identify itself. It fired two surface-to-air missiles, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board.--Max Fisher, "The forgotten story of Iran Air Flight 655,", October 16, 2013]

[The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that almost $2 billion in frozen Iranian assets must be turned over to American families of people killed in the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran.--Lawrence Hurley, "US Supreme Court rejects Iran bank's bid to avoid payout to attack victims," Reuters, April 20, 2016]

Jeremy R. Hammond, "The 'Forgotten' US Shootdown of Iranian Airliner Flight 655,", July 3, 2017

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