WASHINGTON — The United States has accepted the decision of The Hague tribunal on Iranian assets held by the United States and will return about $454 million to Iran, the State Department said today.
The settlement of the claims, dating back to 1981, removes one of the major issues that the Iranian government has used as an explanation for the tense relations between the two countries and for the taking of U.S. hostages in Lebanon by pro-Iranian groups.
In accepting the decision by the joint tribunal, set up in 1982 as the result of the settlement of the embassy hostage crisis, the State Department explicitly ruled out any link between the return of the Iranian assets held by the United States and any hint that it was a form of ransom being paid to get Iranian cooperation in the release of American hostages in Lebanon.
$66 Million Retained
The U.S. government agreed to transfer about $454 million from an account held by the Federal Bank of New York, which now contains $520 million. The remaining $66 million will be used to satisfy outstanding claims by creditors.