Essay on Iran Hostage Crisis

1281 Words Feb 1st, 2008 6 Pages
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
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President Carter then tried to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran next. He stopped all oil imports from Iraq on 12 November 1979, expelled Iranians from the U.S. and froze over 8 billion dollars of Iranian money and assets by issuing Executive order 12170. The Iranians countered and stated they wanted the Shah returned to Iraq to stand trial, the release of the assets, and an apology by the U.S. for interfering in Iraq affairs. For whatever reason no agreement was reached so the hostage situation continued on. (4)
While still trying diplomatic means the United States started to prepare for a hostage rescue by using military forces. Several scenarios were introduced but the one plan that was accepted was a complex two-night operation called Operation Eagle Claw. Due to the vast open desert like regions of Iraq a two night operation was planned allowing the rescue team concealment but this plan would also cover a vast stretch of territory and required two-nights for the plan to work. A number of C-130 airplanes (see picture 1 below) and 8 RH-53 (see picture 2 below) helicopters would be used to start the initial rescue mission. Picture 1 (5) Picture 2 (6)
The C-130 would fly over 100 Special Forces and Ranger soldiers from Oman to a staging area called Desert One, about in the middle of Iran. The 8 RH-53 helicopters would take off from the United States Aircraft carrier Nimitz and join up with the C-130 at the staging area. The rescue team would

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