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The Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1978-1980
Transcript of The Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1978-1980
World War II
Revolutionary Rage Grows & Explodes
1977 - Carter & the Shah
The Hostage Crisis Begins
Nov. 4th 1969
444 Days of National Outrage in both Iran & the U.S.
Roosevelt, Churchill, & Stalin
The Tehran Conference
The three allied leaders met in Tehran, Iran to formulate wartime policy against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan
The countries had previously invaded Iran and forced the Shah to abdicate his throne. They deemed his son more "western friendly" and installed him as the new Shah of Iran.
1940s - 1953
The Prime Minister Nationalizes the Oil Fields
The Shah is Weak
Through the 1940s and into 1953 Western Powers exploit Iranian Oil Fields.
In 1953 the Iranian Prime Minister nationalizes the oil fields in an attempt to reign in Western power and influence in the country
The coup succeeds and the Shah grants the U.S. and G.B. equal access to its oil fields. The Shah establishes dictatorial control over Iran.
1953 - The CIA leads a Coup to reinstall the Shah
For the next 25 years he terrorized his own people with secret police and gestapo like tactics
New Years Eve 1977
President Jimmy Carter toasts the Iranian Shah and says "Iran is an island of stability" because of "your leadership...and the love which your people give to you"
Iran was a country seething on the edge of revolution. President Carter's administration did nudge the Shah on his human rights abuses but the New Years eve toast stands as a symbol to Carter's misguided approach to Iranian affairs.
1978 - Protests against the Shah
The young population of Iran protest the Shah's brutal policies and secret police forces. Exiled cleric Ruhollah Khomeini calls for mass demonstrations and strikes across all of Iran.
The pressure on the Shah builds as he attempts to hold on to power. He finally abdicates his throne and leaves for Egypt in January 1979.
January 1979 - The Revolution Wins!
The Shah in Egypt & America
Suffering From Cancer the Shah seeks Treatment
Oct 22, 1979 - The Carter Administration first denied him entry to the U.S. for treatment. After continued lobbying from powerful elements in the U.S. Carter agreed to let the Shah in.
Nov. 4, 1979 - This move angered the Revolutionaries in Iran and prompted the storming of the United States Embassy in Tehran.
On the morning of Nov 4th Iranian Revolutionaries storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and take 66 people hostage.
They demand that the U.S. extradite the Shah to face trial.
The Iranian interim govt. resigns in protest and leaves the Ayatollah Khomeini in charge of Iran.
Storming of the Embassy
Becoming a Crisis
In mid Nov. 1979 Khomeini releases 13 women and minority hostages declaring solidarity with "oppressed minorities."
The other hostages are held and new demands are made. The revolutionaries demand that the U.S. apologize for the 1953 coup and unfreeze 8 billion dollars in Iranian money
New Demands & Complications
The Crisis Drags On.... .
The Crisis unites the American public behind President Carter and his attempts to negotiate for the hostages release.
American Public Reacts
The Hostages are being paraded in front of the international media in Tehran and used as bargaining chips.
News Anchor Ted Koppel begins signing off his nightly news broadcast with a count of the days since the beginning of the Crisis.
Negotiations & a Failed Rescue
Negotiations Drag On
Nov. 1979 - April 1980
The revolutionary govt. under Khomeini negotiates with President Carter's administration over release of the hostages. The talks go nowhere fast and the pressure on President Carter at home ramps up during an election year.
Failed Rescue Attempt
April 24, 1980 Operation Eagle Claw
President Jimmy Carter authorizes the military to attempt a rescue. It is a complicated plan.
8 - Helicopters, 4 C-130s, Army Delta Force, 3 pronged attack to secure the hostages and fly them out of Tehran.
The plan fails when the helicopters encounter a sandstorm in the Iranian desert. One helicopter crashes into a C-130 during refueling and 8 American Military personnel are killed.
President Carter went on National television the next day and announced the Mission's failure. He accepted full responsibility and vowed to continue negotiations. The Revolutionaries split up all the hostages to prevent another rescue attempt.
Jan 28, 1980
- 6 American Diplomats who had escaped the Embassy and hidden at the Canadian Ambassador's house return home in a joint Canadian/C.I.A. operation. *BEN AFFLECK MOMENT*
Further Happenings & Events...
July 27, 1980 - The Shah dies in Egypt
He dies in exile in Egypt. This forces the revolutionaries to change their demands for the return of the hostages. Khomeini now demands that the Shah's 32
fortune be returned to Iran and that America not interfere in Iranian domestic issues again.
September 1980 - Iran/Iraq war begins
The Iranians grow more receptive to negotiations and the terms of the hostages release are slowly worked out through an intermediary country
and it ends. Not with a bang but with a whimper
Nov 1980 - Republican Ronald Reagan wins the Presidency.
Ronald Reagan Wins 1980 Election
It is later widely rumored that representatives from his campaign actively lobbied the Iranians to not release the hostages until after the elections
He runs on a tough foreign policy initiative and uses the hostage situation along with the general malaise of the 1970s to his advantage.
After 444 days in captivity the hostages are released just hours after Ronald Reagan takes the Oath of Office.
Inauguration Day 1981
The Iranians intentionally waited until after Jimmy Carter was out of office as a sign of their displeasure and one last final protest.
The U.S. released approx. 8 Billion dollars of frozen Iranian assets in America and returned it to them in gold bullion to finally secure the return of the hostages.
Callaghan, Karen J. and Simo Virtanen. "Revised Models of The "Rally Phenomenon": The Case of the Carter Presidency." The Journal of Politics 55, no. 3 (1993): 756-764.
Donovan, Robert J. and Ray Scherer. Unsilent Revolution : Television News and American Public Life, 1948-1991 Woodrow Wilson Center Series. Washington D.C. Cambridge England ; New York: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars ;Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Nikazmerad, Nicholas M. "A Chronological Survey of the Iranian Revolution." Iranian Studies 13, no. 1/4 (1980): 327-368.
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. The "October Surprise" Allegations and the Circumstances Surrounding the Release of the American Hostages Held in Iran : Report of the Special Counsel to Senator Terry Sanford and Senator James M. Jeffords of the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office, 1992.
Waller, Altina L. and William Graebner. True Stories from the American Past. 2 vols. 3rd ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Wells, Tim. 444 Days : The Hostages Remember. 1st ed. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.