Iran Hostage Crisis
The Iran Hostage Crisis lasted for 444 days and went from 4 November 1979 to 20 January 1981. This crisis happened only after a long time friend and ally, the Shah of Iran, was ousted from power and left Iran in January 1979. A revolutionary leader named Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power in Iran when he returned in February 1979. Khomeini started rhetoric against the United States as the "Great Satan" that provided young Iranian students a reason to storm the U.S. Embassy and take 66 people hostage. Fourteen people where released during the hostage crisis leaving 52 remaining. (1) From World War II till his overthrow the Shah of Iran was a close ally with the United States and was one of the bases from which U.S. policy in the Middle East was built. Many times he was at odds with eight different U.S. Presidents over his social and economic reforms and refusal to grant political freedom. In a riot in 1963 the Shah arrested and exiled opposition leaders, one of those leaders was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. From 1963 to 1979 the Shah spent billions of dollars on military weapons which loss him the support of the people. Not willing to give democratic freedoms and unable to make economic progress the Shah fled on 16 January 1979, during a revolution in Iraq. (2) On 22 October 1979 the Shah was allowed into the United States for cancer treatment. This led to widespread anger in Iraq where Khomeini capitalized on the anger and planned a take-over of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iraq. The plan was to hold the Embassy for only a couple of hours. After 4 days Khomeini was surprised to see the U.S. did not try to use force against Iraq, so the hostage situation continued on. United States President Jimmy Carter attempted to take a soft stand and made an appeal to release the hostages on humanitarian reasons and the hope of making an alliance with the Islamic Republic against the communist. (3) The peoples of the United States...
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