The original 1979 hostage crisis

The July 12, 1979, takeover of the U.S. Embassy by members of the Iranian People’s Revolutionary Guard was seen as the opening salvo in a revolution, and the presidential elections a year later set…

The original 1979 hostage crisis

The July 12, 1979, takeover of the U.S. Embassy by members of the Iranian People’s Revolutionary Guard was seen as the opening salvo in a revolution, and the presidential elections a year later set in motion events that would leave more than 40 Americans captive. The hostages were held for 444 days until President Ronald Reagan promised them the “freedom and honor” of being released. Watch:

The change in government prompted a succession of American visitors to Iran, with the 1980 Jimmy Carter-Mikhail Gorbachev summit being the most prominent. After Rouhani’s election in 2013, Obama attempted to reach out to Tehran, culminating in the nuclear deal that was finalized two years later. President Trump broke from that agreement and is determined to step up pressure on Iran.

Since Rouhani’s election, American policy in Iran has more closely aligned with those of Iran’s leaders. The Obama administration sought to rebuild ties with Tehran in order to work toward a lasting solution to the decades-long Iranian nuclear standoff.

The Republican Party attempted to blame President Obama for the hostage crisis for years. While elements within the American media turned a blind eye to this point, some U.S. officials, notably Secretary of State John Kerry, tried to highlight the United States’ role in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. Although he did not break from the agreement himself, Mr. Kerry did take it upon himself to work with Tehran to secure the hostages’ release.

Mr. Kerry continued working on issues relating to the Iranian nuclear deal after the release of the hostages, but he eventually lost his job as secretary of state. He ran for the Senate in Massachusetts, and Mr. Trump appointed him as the nation’s last remaining nuclear negotiator.

Mr. Rouhani became the first Iranian president to visit the United States in over a decade. His visit led to, among other things, the freeing of an Iranian marine detained in San Diego who had been imprisoned for nearly a decade.

For Mr. Obama, the nuclear deal was one of the crowning achievements of his presidency. Although he was unable to resolve the whole Iran crisis, the nuclear agreement provided a route toward peace.

The U.S. Embassy siege was a catastrophic event. Shortly after the hostage-taking, the Iranian people voted a Western-style democracy into power in the first parliamentary elections in 30 years. Despite this fact, there have been many reports of alleged human rights abuses over the past decades. While there is still much work to be done, it is a day we can all be thankful for.

And the U.S. Embassy siege was just one of many dramatic events in which U.S. diplomats helped free captured citizens in a world desperate for relief. Watch:

Leave a Comment