Presentation on theme: "The Iranian Hostage Crisis 1979-1981. MAP This is were the US embassy was."— Presentation transcript:
The Iranian Hostage Crisis 1979-1981
MAP This is were the US embassy was
Causes Before the hostage situation there was an Islamic Revolution taking place (1978-1979). Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic leader, was trying his hardest to destroy all western influences. It began when he overthrew the American backed ruler Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlevi. This began a steady deterioration of the relationship of the US and Iran. Iranians seized the embassy when the former Shah was allowed into the US for medical purposes. They feared that America was trying to put the Shah back in power.
Grand Ayatollah Sayid Ruhullah Musawi Khomeini Sayid Ruhullah Musawi Khomeini was the religious and political leader behind the Iranian hostage situation. Khomeini had a lot of political power. He was a Grand Ayatollah. A spiritual reference. He was the man that Iranians looked for to spiritual guidance. Khomeini did not like the West and disliked the ruler of Iran. In fact he refused to enter Iran until the king left. When the king left in 1979 Khomeini wasted no time taking over the government. Khomeini helped create a new constitution for the Islamic Republic of Iran. He elected himself Supreme Leader. His followers were the ones that seized the Embassy. Khomeini backed the action and used it as a bargaining chip against the US on many occasions. He even went as far as to say “America can’t do a thing.”
February 14, 1979 On February 14, 1979 the embassy was mobbed by five hundred Iranians. The US feared something like this would happen. That’s why there were only seventy personnel rather then the regular 1,400. The mob was repelled with a few casualties and deaths.
November 10, 1979 On this day the former Iranian king was let into the US for medical reasons. At first there wasn’t a real response from the Iranians. Suddenly a mob of perhaps three hundred Iranian students stormed the embassy. The students, from the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, took sixty-three Americans hostage. Another three were taking hostage in the Iranian Foreign Ministry. There were sixty-six hostages in all.
Treatment The hostages were not always treated badly. The hostage-takers called them “guests of Ayatollah” an provided playing cards and books to pass the time. In fact, thirteen blacks and women were set free the second day because it would be against Islam to keep them. In July 11, 1980, Richard Queen was released when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. However they still weren’t treated well. They weren’t beaten or tortured, but they were treated badly in other ways. They were constantly paraded in front of cameras with blind folds and Hoods. They were frequently put in solitary confinement and weren’t allowed to talk for months on end. They were feed infrequently and by the end of their stay all had been severely emancipated (starved). The captors did not stop at physical abuse, they also used psychological torture. One of the hostages was told his mother had died and did not learn the truth till he was set free.
Beginning The Iranian hostage situation was at first only meant to last a few hours. But Khomeini waited to see how America would react. He feared that America would come in with guns blazing. They didn’t. Many say that the hostages would have been released earlier if President Carter had been more forceful. Carter tried to peacefully negotiate the release of the hostages. This did not work. Next Carter used economic leverage. He froze all of Iran’s foreign assets. This didn’t work either. Then things got complicated.
Operation Eagle Claw President Carter didn’t just use economic pressure to release the hostages. On April 20, 1980, the operation was carried out. The rescue helicopters and planes landed in Iran’s desert to refuel. However this created a lot of problems. These problems included equipment failure and a blinding sandstorm. Because of this the mission was aborted. The sandstorm was the worst part. On the back a rescue helicopter collided with a transport airplane and eight of the rescuers were killed. The mission turned into a complete and utter failure.
The Invasion of Afghanistan The invasion of Afghanistan did not help the US’s cause. On December 25, 1979, Russia came to Afghanistan’s aid. At the time Afghanistan was under a communist government. The government was under fire by Muslim rebels. The invasion was used as an example of how a “civilized” country will try to assert its power over smaller countries. It didn’t help that the US was helping the Muslim rebels. This set back release negotiations.
Repercussions President Carter’s diplomatic negotiations, the failed mission, and Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan made it harder to get the hostages freed. Iran thought it had been wronged and it would not budge until it’s alleged wrong was set right. In example of Iran’s stubbornness was shown on July 27, 1980. The whole situation started when Iran’s former Shah was allowed into the US for medical treatment. On July 27 he died. When Iran learned of this they still didn’t let the hostages go. Iran’s outrage lead some of its citizens to do disgusting things. After Iran learned of the failed rescue attempts some Iranians took the brunt corpse from the crash site and paraded them around at an anti- American rally. None of these helped the hostage’s situation.
President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter Jr. While this was going on the President of the US was Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter was a good president. He created two departments, the Department of Energy and the Department of Health, to help Americans. He did what he thought best for the people. Then the hostage situation happened. His inability to free the hostages turned America against him. When he ran for reelection he lost badly to Republican Ronald Reagan.
Conclusion Iran was all for keeping the hostages as long as possible. Then in September 22, 1980 Iraq invaded Iran. Iran was suddenly on the defensive. Iran had just gotten over a revolution. It wasn’t ready for a invasion. That’s exactly why Saddam Hussein decided to invade at that time. Iran was in some serious trouble. So it decided to get rid of the lesser of two evils. It released the American hostages after 444 days of captivity. To show contempt towards America one last time, they released the hostages moments after President Ronald Reagan was sworn in. The Iranian’s involved like to say they were powerful enough to change the Presidency of the “great United States of America”. Happy Hostages coming home
Excerpt of Hostage Diary on the Plane Ride Home “The voice came over the Algerian plane's speaker: "You are now leaving Iranian air space!" What a cheer went up from the American hostages on the plane! This was the moment for which we had waited 444 days. Now we knew we were really free! Even though we had been told by the Iranian terrorists that we were being set free, I'm sure all of the hostages didn't really feel that we were on our way to freedom until we actually were out of Iran. So much still could go wrong in the process of obtaining our freedom...but the confirmation that we were actually out of Iran and the Ayatollah Khomeini's jurisdiction made us finally realize that our ordeal was over! What a magnificent feeling! We were on our way at last! We were going home!” Robert C. Ode
Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan was a very popular president. President Reagan was a very different president. He was a one of a kind president. He was the only president that was ever divorced and the only actor president. Reagan used the Iranian Hostage situation to get elected. He promised the disheartened Americans he would bring back America’s power and influence in the world. This and his amazing popularity got him elected. The fact the hostages were released minutes after he was inaugurated was a major boost in his already large population.
Afterwards Even though twenty-six years have passed the tension between America and Iran is still thick. America is still angry with Iran and Iran still does not like the West. Now that Iran is growing closer to a nuclear bomb America is getting more nervous. America is trying its hardest to stop Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities apart from military action. America is now afraid what Iran would do to them with a nuke.
Timeline February 14, 1917- a mob attacks the US embassy, but is repelled. November 10, 1917- a mob attacks the embassy and takes sixty-six people captive November 11, 1917- thirteen hostages were released because they were black or women. April 25, 1980- the US sends a rescue mission, but it fails miserably. July 11, 1980- Richard Queen released when diagnosed with multiple scoliosis July 27, 1980- the Shah dies, but the hostage situation keeps on. September 22, 1980- Iraq invades Iran. January 20, 1981- All hostages released.