Thirty-nine years ago, 53 Americans were kidnapped and held hostage by militant Iranian students for 444 days. The incident ushered in the modern era of terrorism that exists today in the existence of such groups as Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and ISIS.
Now, after three and a half decades, the 53 Americans are going to be compensated with up to $4 million each for their ordeal. The original deal for the release of the Americans held hostage did not include restitution by the Iranian government. Such restitution was unavailable until a US judge forced France’s largets bank, the BNP Paribas to pay over $8 billion in fines to settle accounts regardin the violation of US sanctions linked to the Iranian government. Until that point, restitution for terrorist victims was unavailable.
The funding comes from corporations and entities that did business with Iran over the decades in direct violation of the US sanctions. That includes several countries like Syria and North Korea.
The effort for restitution goes in credit to senators like Harry Reid (D), and Johnny Isakson (R).
President Barack Obama signed into law the legislation necessary for the victims to seek compensation. It was quite a legal task to reach this level as the victims had been blocked by numerous procedural limits that only this large legislation afforded for.
Critics that don’t look at the specifics will think the American taxpayer is footing the bill when in fact it’s the French bank that is. The violations against the American sanctions collected billions of dollars over the years and it was blatantly obvious that law was not being applied here. In punishing the BNP, the American legislators and President Obama saw the opportunity to set things right by finally getting the victims of the hostage situation compensated as well as the spouses of those victims who’ve died since the crisis was ended.
The Iranian government and the countries involved in violating sanctions are sure to be angry regarding the decision, but at present, with terrorist attacks in France, there’s no sympathy for Iran or any ally of Iran. With the US having lifted sanctions against Iran and being implemented on a gradient in the coming years, this legislation and compensation sends a resounding message that terrorists will cost a great deal more. Sometimes a kick in the pocket book is the only way some groups will listen.
There’s no telling how far such compensatory legislation will go. Will all victims of all terrorism be compensated? Will the global banking systems fall prey to government intervention and threats? All these questions need to be addressed in the coming years as the world is now united in a global effort to stamp out terrorism.