Operation Eagle Claw Decision Analysis

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Operation Eagle Claw Decision Analysis

Marcus Niro

PSCI 3163

April 10th 2015

Foreign Policy Option Supporting Actors
#1 Use military to rescue hostages in Iran. NSC Advisor-
Zbiniew Brzezinski

Secretary of Defense-
Harold Brown (Civilian)

JCOS- Gen. David Jones
#2 Continue the use of diplomacy and economic sanctions until captives are released.
Secretary of State Cyrus Vance

CIA Director Stansfield Turner


Tragedy stuck America on November 4th of 1979, when 52 hostages were seized at the American Embassy in Iran during the midst of the Iranian Revolution. Different policy approaches prompted a vast range of potential actions, and ultimately “Operation Eagle Claw” was carried out between April 21st and 25th of 1980. The two primary executive divisions in dispute during decision process were the National Security Council (NCS) and its advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and Secretary of the Department of State (DOS), Cyrus Vance. The decision for the use of military force, rather than continuing economic sanctions and diplomacy, was due to Carter’s attempt at re-election and a lack of resistance from Congress. This paper will begin by providing background information on the Iranian Hostage Crises, then shifts to the different viewpoints taken by the divisions of the executive branch. This will provide the different policy options and supporting actors. The final part of the paper will focus on the foreign policy outcome.

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