US, Iranian panel to meet on $4 billion in claims

The first meeting of a US-Iranian arbitration panel set up to resolve the fate of more than $4 billion of Iranian assets frozen in the United States will be held sometime before May 12, a US Embassy spokesman said.

The procedure to handle disputes was agreed upon in the Jan. 20 Algiers agreement. Under the deal, Iran freed 52 American Embassy hostages in exchange for the release of some $8 billion of Iranian assets frozen by President Carter. The tribunal will be final arbiter of claims between US companies and Iranian government organizations over an estimated $4 billion of assets held chiefly by US companies. Sources said the governments will try to reach a lump-sum settlement, via Algerian intermediaries, of 1,800 claims of less than $250,000 each.

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