The Iran Hostage Crisis

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The late 20th century was a very turbulent time in American history. In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected to the presidency, and he had many goals to help better America. However, on November 4th, 1979, a group of radical students seized the United States’ embassy in Tehran, Iran. This completely altered the course of American history and relations with the Middle East. This crisis had many impacts on the United States. It caused the Energy Crisis which in turn caused the Recession of 1979. The Iran Hostage Crisis also had political consequences for President Carter. It was a major factor that contributed to him losing the election of 1980 to Ronald Reagan. Additionally, this crisis led to many instances of racial discrimination toward…show more content…
Carter responded to the seizure of the embassy and the taking of hostages by applying diplomatic and economic sanctions on Iran. Ten days after the start of the crisis, President Carter froze about $8 billion of Iranian assets. However, this did not rattle Khomeini, it empowered him. It was at this point that it was realized that a solution to this crisis would be harder than anticipated. Ayatollah Khomeini issued a set of demands in exchange for the hostages. First, the Shah must be returned to Iran to be put on trial. Second, the U.S. needed to issue an apology for previous American actions, and third the U.S. had to promise not to interfere in Iranian politics in the future. As expected, Carter did not comply with these demands. He tried to work out diplomatic negotiations with Iran using a third party, but those negotiations fell through (The Associated Press). President Carter was criticized heavily for not doing more to resolve the Hostage Crisis. Since Carter saw that a diplomatic solution was not going to come soon, he decided that the only way to solve the situation was by force. He employed a secret operation known as Operation Eagle Claw. The plan was to land helicopters and planes outside of Tehran, and then they would make their way to the embassy to rescue the hostages. However, the mission was a complete failure; a dust storm caused a helicopter to crash into one of the planes, killing eight service members.
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