Algiers Accords: Submission to Injustice

An article posted at Islam In Action cited an Associated Press article: US wants Iran hostage suit tossed out which alerted me to the existence of the Algiers Accords, which President Carter ‘ratified’ by executive order. Examine the provisions made in general principle B of the Algiers Accords.
[Emphasis added.]

It is the purpose of both parties, within the framework of and pursuant to the provisions of the two Declarations of the Government of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, to terminate all litigation as between the Government of each party and the nationals of the other, and to bring about the settlement and termination of all such claims through binding arbitration. Through the procedures provided in the Declaration, relating to the Claims Settlement Agreement, the United States agrees to terminate all legal proceedings in United States courts involving claims of United States persons and institutions against Iran and its state enterprises, to nullify all attachments and judgments obtained therein, to prohibit all further litigation based on such claims, and to bring about the termination of such claims through binding arbitration.

President Carter agreed to:

  • terminate lawsuits
  • nullify judgments
  • prohibit litigation
  • end claims by binding arbitration.

That is cemented in Point 10.

Upon the making by the Government of Algeria of the certification described in Paragraph 3 above, the United States will promptly withdraw all claims now pending against Iran before the International Court of Justice and will thereafter bar and preclude the prosecution against Iran of any pending or future claim of the United States or a United States national arising out of events occurring before the date of this declaration related to (A) the seizure of the 52 United States nationals on November 4, 1979, (B) their subsequent detention,

The accord clearly bars suits against Iran arising from the hostage taking. Next we discover that the parties to the accord are not on equal terms: Iran is guaranteed the right to recover assets from the Shah and his family.

Upon the making by the Government of Algeria of the certification described in Paragraph 3 above, the United States will freeze, and prohibit any transfer of, property and assets in the United States within the control of the estate of the former Shah or of any close relative of the former Shah served as a defendant in U.S. litigation brought by Iran to recover such property and assets as belonging to Iran. As to any such defendant, including the estate of the former Shah, the freeze order will remain in effect until such litigation is finally terminated. Violation of the freeze order shall be subject to the civil and criminal penalties prescribed by U.S. law.

Further details are provided by a CNS article: Carter Era Agreement Again Cited in Bid to Block Iran Hostage Lawsuit That article quotes Senator Tom Harkin on this issue.

“The Algiers Accord is not a treaty and was never submitted to the Congress for ratification,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said in a late 2001 statement. “It is a kidnapping and ransom agreement that was entered into under duress while the Ayatollah was threatening to put the Americans on trial as ‘spies’ and execute them.”

Summary of the House version of P.L. 110-181, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008

[..].or (4) the claim is related to a specified case concerning the taking of American hostages by Iran in 1979. […]

Sec 1083 specifically denies immunity to Iran for causes arising from the seizure of hostages.

According to CNS, the litigants cited P.L. 110-181, Sec. 1083, to which the Department of Justice countered with a statement that the act did not repeal the accord.

In this writer’s opinion, the hostages, injured previously by the Ayatollah’s gang, are suffering at the hands of their own government, which is denying their right to seek indemnification.