The Great Leadership Of The Shah

1744 Words7 Pages
FEW US PRESIDENTS got it as wrong as Jimmy Carter, when, on New Year’s Eve 1977, during a state visit to Iran he confidently opined: ‘Iran, because of the great leadership of the Shah, is an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world.’ The President spoke way too soon. A week later, the Shah’s police shot down dozens of theology students in the holy city of Qom as they demonstrated against a scurrilous attack on the prominent Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khomeini in a pro-government newspaper.
The incident triggered off a year of growing protest that climaxed in a full-blown revolution. The Shah’s government collapsed. He was forced out of Iran and into exile.
US relations with the new regime began to deteriorate speedily. The catalyst was the events that took place on 4 November, when, angered by the US government’s decision to allow the exiled Shah into the US for cancer treatment, a mob of young Iranians, mostly radical university students and supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini, laid siege to the US Embassy in Tehran. They surged over the wall around the Embassy compound and broke into its buildings. Most of the embassy personnel in the compound were taken hostage. Their ordeal was to last for the next 14 months.
Six Americans managed to escape capture. Lee Schatz, the Agricultural Attaché, casually strolled through the crowd to take refuge inside the Swedish Embassy. Robert Anders, the head of the Embassy’s Consular Section, Joe Stafford, Mark Lijek
Get Access