By: Mir M.Hosseini
After 444 days of captivity, American hostages were freed, only one day after Jimmy Carter's presidency term ended.
The Iran Hostage Crisis began on November 4, 1979 when a group called Students in the Path of Imam stormed the US embassy in Tehran. Only nine months earlier, the US embassy had been occupied by another Anti-American militant group called CFK on Valentine's Day. The reasons behind their action can be summarized as follows:
- Admission of ousted dictator, Mohammad Reza Shah to the US.
- Iranian fear of another CIA backed coup as it was experienced in 1953.
- US hostility towards Iran during and after the Iranian Revolution
- Suspicious espionage activities in the US Embassy in Tehran.
Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran's political and religious leader refused all appeals to release the hostages. Yet, two weeks later all non-American captives, and all female and minority Americans were release, citing these groups as oppressed by the United States.
After the unfortunate incident US blocked Iran's assets and pushed an economic embargo that lingered on to-date in forms of threats and sanctions. President Jimmy Carter was unable to diplomatically resolve the crisis, and on April 24, 1980, he launched a disastrous rescue mission called Operation Eagle in which eight U.S. military personnel were killed and no hostages rescued.
Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued.
An agreement between Iran and the United States was signed in Algiers on Jan, 19, 1981. Six of the embassy staff were in hiding for 3 months and had returned to U.S. as Canadian diplomats on Jan, 28, 1980. Right after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the new president of the United States, the 52 captives held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, were released on Jan, 20, 1981, The airplane carrying the hostages landed in West Germany on Jan, 21th, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis.
The old American embassy, now called the Spy Den located in the Taleghani Ave. in Tehran has been closed and the two countries do not officially have diplomatic ties ever since.
The US Embassy complex is now used as a cultural center.