Iran hostage crisis – in pictures

Iran Hostage Crisis began with US-Iranian Embassy takeover of November 1979.

In 1979, US diplomats were taking shelter at the US Embassy in Tehran because of rising political unrest. A group of students stormed the US Embassy in Tehran on Nov 18, 1979, taking 52 US citizens hostage for 444 days.

Hostage-taking continued through the 1980s, but progressed to hostage-taking involving the American and British embassies in Tehran.

In December 1981, the US brought home the 51 remaining US diplomats on what were called “rendition” flights. The remaining Iranian embassy officials were given asylum in the United States.

The Iranians eventually ended the hostage crisis in January 1981 by releasing 444 American hostages, allowing a handover of Iranian nationals who were awaiting an agreement, and releasing the US Embassy personnel.

Three US Americans remain unaccounted for – John Armstrong, Keith Bowers and Judy Gibbons. (AFP)

1970s: CIA and media reported secret talks with Iran ahead of hostage takeover

From an Al Jazeera special report: On 28 November 1979, a group of militant students moved to the main US Embassy compound in Tehran, Iran, and began to seize US hostages. The embassy was the nerve centre of the US diplomatic mission in the country. One group of students had taken up residency inside the compound, while another group had taken hostages on its perimeter, forcing the rest of the staff to hide inside until the country’s supreme leader could decide to implement the policy of “give and take” declared by Ayatollah Khomeini. After four days of negotiations, Ayatollah Khomeini announced on November 30, 1979, that all 52 US citizens who had taken up residence in the embassy would be released, and those believed to be holding hostage on the perimeter would also be released. The location of the majority of the 52 American hostages has never been revealed, despite several attempts by members of the Iranian government. The US hostages would be released on 26 February 1981, but the majority of those involved would never be seen alive again.

Leave a Comment