Unfortunately, however, it is almost impossible for the victims to actually collect the money awarded.
In one recent case on this issue called Estate of Heiser v Iran (DDC 2011), the court discusses how difficult it is for plaintiffs in cases like these to recover. In that case, the plaintiffs went after Sprint to attempt to get Sprint to pay them money it owed to Iran's communications agency. After discussing the issue in detail the court did order Sprint to give the funds to the plaintiffs, but then it concluded that
“...this decision represents renewed hope for long-suffering victims of state-sponsored terrorism. . . .But the bleak reality is that today’s decision comes after more than a year of litigation and results in a turnover of funds amounting to less than one-tenth of one-percent of what plaintiffs are entitled to in these consolidated cases. And this infinitesimal sum is dwarfed by even greater magnitudes when compared to the endless agony and suffering befalling these victims. A step in the right direction, to be sure. But a very small one.”