The Carter administration yesterday appeared nowhere near developing a new method to dispose of claims on Iranian assets in the United States.
Twice in the last two weeks, in the course of outlining new pressures against Iran, President Carter proposed legislation to deal with the problem. Thursday he said he would ask Congress for authority to use some of the estimated $8 billion in assets to pay reparations to hostages and their families and to finance American military cost stemming from the Iranian crisis -- in effect, to help balance the budget.
The White House referred reporters to the Treasury Department for further explanation. But Deputy Treasurer Secretary Robert Carswell said he was awaiting word from the White House on what the president had in mind.
Dozens of corporations already have filed claims on the money in at least 63 separate federal district courts. Among the firms are Chase Manhattan and Citibank, E. I. DuPont de Nemours, Lockheed and American & Telegraph. The government is collecting other claims through a census just under way.
In the absence of new legislation, the federal courts will have to sort out the claims, a process that could take a decade or longer.
Legislation could establish a priority list. It also could give the president the power to seize funds for the use of the government.
Administration officials have in the past said the problem would be dealt with promptly.