The ordeal for the Americans who were working at the embassy began on November 4, 1979, after the Iranian revolution, when the compound was overrun,. They were held for 444 days. The hostages were freed in 1981.
The bill also authorizes payments to other victims of separate international terrorism attacks. What is different for the former hostages is that they were never allowed to take Iran to court because of the agreement with Tehran that freed them.