Today, Senators Reverend Warnock, Vance introduced bipartisan legislation to finally fully compensate these former hostages and their families
In 1979, 66 U.S. Embassy employees were taken hostage by Iranian militants, most being held for 444 days
Congress previously agreed to compensate these hostages via the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism (USVSST) Fund, but after more than four decades many former hostages and their families have only received a fraction—as little as 25%–of the payment they were promised
Senator Reverend Warnock’s work to fully compensate these victims and their families carries on Senator Johnny Isakson’s decades of bipartisan leadership on this issue
Senator Reverend Warnock: “I’m proud to carry the baton from the late Senator Johnny Isakson and continue his leadership to deliver on this commitment.”
Washington, D.C. – Following the 43rd anniversary of the January 20, 1981 release of 52 U.S. Embassy employees who were taken hostage for 444 days by Iranian militants, an episode known as the Iran Hostage Crisis, today U.S. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and JD Vance (R-OH) introduce new bipartisan legislation to recognize the former hostages and their horrific experience, and recommit the nation to honoring its promise to fully compensate the former hostages and their families. The bipartisan Justice for Former American Hostages in Iran Act of 2024 will complete the payments Congress previously authorized to the former hostages and their families through the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism (USVSST) Fund. Despite being one of the oldest and eldest claimants within the USVSST Fund, after waiting for more than four decades the former Iran hostages have only received a fraction—as little as 25%–of their promised payment. Senator Warnock’s work to fully compensate these victims and their families carries on Senator Johnny Isakson’s decades of bipartisan leadership on this issue
“It’s time Congress kept their promise to these patriotic Americans and their families,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “I’m proud to carry the baton from the late Senator Johnny Isakson and continue his leadership to deliver on this commitment. Senator Vance and I will continue this bipartisan push to right this decades-long wrong.”
“We are thrilled that Sen. Warnock, along with Sen. Vance, have committed to carrying on Sen. Isakson’s work in helping us receive the full compensation we were awarded and promised by Congress in 2015,” said Greg Scott, son of Iran hostage survivor, the late Ret. Col. Charles Scott. “After 43 years, Justice is long overdue for the suffering our families endured during the nightmare of the Iran Hostage Crisis and we hope that soon we will be made somewhat whole again thanks to their bi-partisan effort.”
The Justice for Former American Hostages in Iran Act of 2024:
- Authorizes and appropriates funds to the USVSST Fund to make full and complete payments for outstanding and unpaid claims for former Iran hostages and their eligible family members.
- Mandates that any money appropriated for payments to the former Iran hostages may not be used for any other purposes.
Today’s announcement continues Senator Warnock’s long track record of leadership to secure compensation for these former Iran hostages and their families. In December 2022, Senator Warnock secured an amendment in the Fiscal Year 2023 government funding bill to distribute additional long-promised funding to Americans taken captive in the Iran Hostage Crisis, as well as their families and their descendants. Approximately $3 billion was deposited into the general USVSST Fund and will be distributed on a pro-rata basis to all eligible American victims of terrorism, including Iran hostages, their families and their descendants. However, due to the large and growing number of eligible victims of state-sponsored terrorism, this funding will not be enough to fully and immediately compensate the Iran hostages and their families.