Iranian hostages, who include LR native, provided compensation in spending bill | Arkansas Blog

Iranian hostages, who include LR native, provided compensation in spending bill

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AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Steve Kirtley greeted by President Reagan at a 1981 White House ceremony following the release of Iranian hostages.
  • AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Steve Kirtley greeted by President Reagan at a 1981 White House ceremony following the release of Iranian hostages.

STEVE KIRTLEY: Former hostage now a technology consultant.
  • STEVE KIRTLEY: Former hostage now a technology consultant.
The New York Times reports that the recently approved spending legislation includes compensation of up to $4.4 million for each of the 53 people taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held captive for 444 days, until the day Ronald Reagan took office.

Those hostages still alive include a Little Rock native, Steve Kirtley. Then a corporal assigned to the security force at the embassy, the retired Marine major lives in the Miami area according to an on-line profile and works in information technology for Hewlett Packard. After he retired from the Marines, he worked in the Washington area in the tech field before moving to Florida.

The hostages had been barred from restitution by the agreement that won their release, but efforts in Congress and elsewhere continued. The money in the spending bill  arose in part because of reaction to the nuclear agreement with Iran and money paid by a bank for violations of trade restrictions with Iran. It remains unclear exactly how the money will be parceled out. 

It is not clear, however, whether all the former hostages or their families will receive full payments. In large measure that is because the $4.4 million total authorized by Congress depends on the outcome of efforts to collect on judgments won in earlier court rulings involving victims of terrorist attacks, as well as on the number of victims who file claims.

The law authorizes payments of up to $10,000 per day of captivity for each of the 53 hostages, 37 of whom are still alive. Fifty-two hostages were released on Jan. 20, 1981; a 53rd hostage had been released earlier because of illness. Spouses and children are authorized to receive a lump payment of as much as $600,000.

Another Arkansan was among the hostages. North Little Rock native Robert Blucker,  was a State Department economics officer. He died in North Little Rock in 2003 at age 76.


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