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Iran hostage crisis (4 November 1979–20 January 1981)

Subject History

Place Middle and Near East » Iran

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


When President carter allowed muhammad riza pahlavi to enter the US for treatment for cancer, student militants stormed the US embassy in Tehran, seizing 69 hostages and embassy documents. When Ayatollah Khomeini endorsed their action the government of Mehdi Bazargan resigned. Iran demanded that the Shah should be handed over for trial and that his wealth should be returned: Carter imposed economic sanctions on Iran and froze Iranian assests. 16 female and black hostages were released in December 1979. An attempt to rescue the rest was abandoned, to the acute embarrassment of the Carter administration, when three helicopters broke down. In September 1980 Iran sought talks because of the deteriorating relations with Iraq which resulted in the Iran-Iraq war (1980–8) but they dragged on: failure to secure the release of the hostages by November may have lost Carter the presidential election. Helped by Algerian mediation, Iran's assets were unblocked and the hostages released on the day of President reagan's inauguration. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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