Iranian Hostage Crisis

By: Cristo Caldera & Jesus Martinez


On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students invaded the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 American hostages. This action made President Jimmy Carter’s allow Iran’s deposed Shah, to come to the United States for cancer treatment. However, the hostage-taking was about more than the Shah’s medical care: it was a dramatic way for the students to declare a break with Iran’s past and an end to American interference in its affairs.

It was also a way to raise the intra- and international profile of the revolution’s leader, the anti-American cleric Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The students set their hostages free on January 21, 1981, 444 days after the crisis began and just hours after President Ronald Reagan delivered his inaugural address. Many historians believe that hostage crisis cost Jimmy Carter a second term as president.

Important terms/people

Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi- was the ruler of Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979

Jimmy Carter - 39th president and president at the time of the Iranian Crisis

Operation Eagle Claw - an operation to save the hostages that failed and ended up with 8 casualties and the destruction of 2 aircraft

Ronald Reagan- after his election as US president the iranian students set free the hostages