The Embassy Hostages

  June 10, 2020

An On-Line Publication of the Anonymous Anything Society

DEATH TO AMERICA: The Hostage Taking Timeline in Iran

President Jimmy Carter
   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.

Rescue Attempt Wreckage
   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.

America Held Hostage (on TV)
   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 did not.

   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.

Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries

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