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Message to the Congress on the Suspension of Litigation Against Iran

February 24, 1981

To the Congress of the United States:

Pursuant to Section 204(b) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), 50 U.S.C. 1703(b), I have today exercised the authority granted by this Act to suspend certain litigation against Iran.

1. The circumstance necessitating the exercise of this authority is the implementation of the Claims Settlement Agreement between the United States and Iran. After a complete review of the agreements with Iran leading to the release of the hostages held by Iran I have decided to implement them.

This order is part of a series of actions necessary to resolve the national emergencies declared in Executive Order 12170 of November 14, 1979 and in Executive Order 12211 of April 17, 1980 and described in reports submitted to Congress under the IEEPA by President Carter on November 14, 1979; April 7, 1980; April 17, 1980; and January 19, 1981.

2. Although the hostages have been released, financial and diplomatic aspects of the crisis have not yet been resolved and continue to present an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.

3. Thus claims which may be presented to the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal are suspended in accordance with the terms of the attached Executive Order pursuant to the terms of the Claims Settlement Agreement, and my powers under Article II of the Constitution, Section 1732 of Title 22, known as the Hostage Act, and Section 203 of IEEPA.

I am also ratifying earlier Executive Orders signed by President Carter on January 19, 1981 to remove any doubt as to their effect, an issue that has been raised in recent litigation challenging them. In this connection I note that Executive Orders 12276 through 12285 were all signed by President Carter and made effective while he was still in office. The Report to Congress required by IEEPA dated January 19, 1981 indicates that some of the Executive Orders were not signed until the release of the hostages, an event that did not occur until after the end of his term. The report, which was prepared in advance, did not, because of the press of circumstances, reflect events precisely as they occurred and to that extent it stands corrected.

4. The present Executive Order is necessary for the United States to meet its obligations under the Claims Settlement Agreement to peacefully arbitrate certain claims.

5. The action is taken with respect to Iran for the reasons outlined above.


The White House,

February 24, 1981.

Ronald Reagan, Message to the Congress on the Suspension of Litigation Against Iran Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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