An On-Line Publication of the Anonymous Anything Society
DEATH TO AMERICA: The Hostage Taking
Timeline in Iran
On November 14, 1979, Fifty-two American diplomats and civilian
employees were seized in the U.S. embassy and held hostage for 444 days by
Iranian students who had taken over the American Embassy in Tehran.
The only brief pause in an ignominious chain of events occurred
on January 27, 1980, when six Americans traveling on Canadian passports were
able to escape by air.
President Carter castigated the government of Iran, which by
then was being led by Ayatollah Khomeini, who had returned from France to
great acclaim in what had become a theocracy.
When Carter launched a rescue operation on April 24, 1980, it
failed to reach its goal due to the failure of engines in transport jets and
helicopters, downed in a desert sandstorm.
In Iran, the hostage taking was widely celebrated as a blow to
the United States and its perceived attempts to undermine the Iranian
revolution by supporting the corrupt regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The finest medicine in America could not save the Shah.
The ayatollahs, enjoying great support by the Republican Guard
of Iran’s military, made demands, one of which was the returns of billions
of dollars the Shah had removed. Carter refused. The Reagan administration
On January 20, 1981, after the presidency had changed to that
of Ronald Reagan, Iran released the hostages.
-Phil Richardson, Storyteller and Observer of the Human Condition.