Iranian Hostage Crisis

Brandon & Tiffany


The Iranian Hostage Crisis took place on November 4, 1979 just shortly after President Jimmy Carter let the exiled leader of Iran into the United States. The Shah arrived in New York to receive treatment of an advanced malignant lymphoma. President Jimmy Carter said his decision was humanitarian, not political. Nonetheless the people of Iran were not happy, because many highly disagreed with the Shah's government.

The people of Tehran were outraged and retaliated against the United States. On November 4, they smashed the gates and scaled the wall of the US embassy, seizing it. They took hostage 66 people mostly consisting of diplomats and employees. Before long, they released 13 people, which included mostly women, african americans and employees belonging to countries other than the US. A little while after that, they also released a 14th hostage because of health reasons; which in turn left them with 52 total hostages.

Operation Eagle Claw was a mission President Carter developed which was meant to rescue the hostages from the US embassy. But in the midst of the mission a horrible sandstorm came and the helicopters started to malfunction. An accident occurred during the mission and 8 service men were killed, leading to the failure of Operation Eagle Claw. By President Carter's inability to save the hostages, this ultimately led him to look like a weak and ineffectual leader. In the end, his attention was very well paid to the hostages, so Ronald Reagan took complete advantage of this. One year and two days after the hostage crisis took place, Reagan defeated Carter by a landslide.

On January 21, 1981 the remaining hostages were released just as President Ronald Reagan was finishing the inaugural address. The hostages were held for a total of 444 days before they were released .

Important terms

Shah - the title of the former monarch of Iran

Embassy - the official residence or offices of an ambassador

Operation Eagle Claw - failed attempt to rescue hostages

Exiled - expel and bar someone from their native country, typically for political reasons

Malignant Lymphoma - type of blood cancer that occurs when the white blood cells that form a part of the immune system and help protect the body from infection and disease, divide faster than normal cells

Ineffectual - not producing any or desired effect

Inaugural Address - speech given by president when he is sworn in for the job

Reagan getting Inaugurated