Iranian Hostage Crisis

by Valerie Niedermeier, Parmeda Sokansanj, Bryan Tuzinowski

  • In early 1979 there was an uprising in Iran against the Shah (ruler of Iran) because he was thought to be an anti-Islamist. In January he fled the country. While the Shah was in power he exiled Islamist leader Ayatollah Khomeini. After fourteen years in exile Khomeini returned and exiled the Shah ("The Iranian Hostage Crisis").
  • In late 1979 President Jimmy Carter agreed to allow the former Shah, who was at this time very ill with cancer, to be medically treated and seen in the United States. Essentially Carter had taken in the Shah as a refugee. This infuriated many Islamists in Iran and led them to believe even further that the US was an enemy of their country ("The Iranian Hostage Crisis").
  • In December of 1979, young Islamic revolutionaries formed a mob, in attempt to overrun the U.S. embassy located in Tehran. Eventually, this group captured sixty-six Americans. This is what started and became the Iranian Hostage Crisis.
  • Iranian people invaded the US embassy and took 60+ people hostage. They were held hostage for 444 days.
  • The Iranian Hostage Situation was the biggest crisis of Carter's presidency. The American people began to have doubts about President Carter because of his inability to free the hostages in Iran. Many people attribute his presidential loss in 1980 to the negative public opinion about the crisis ("Jimmy Carter").
  • Carter's actions brought freedom to the hostages.
• Khomeini overthrew U.S.-backed Shah and was very anti-western
• Shah given asylum in United States for medical treatment; as protest Iranian students seized US embassy in Tehran and held 60+ Americans hostage
• Rescue mission failed; hostages released after a year and lengthy negotiations when Carter no longer president although Carter vigorously worked to get them released and is generally credited with their release

Source Annotation

Summary 1--- "The Hostage Crisis in Iran." Jimmy Carter Library & Museum. 09 Feb. 2006. Web. 10 May 2011. --- Mainly provides information on President Carter and his relations to the Iranian Hostage Crisis- Has some good hyperlinks to check out. America was helping out Shah of Iran by giving him funds in return for oil. However, in the 1960's Shah ended up spending the oil money on military weapons (he spent billions of dollars).

Assess: It doesn't have a lot of information to do with the topic as a whole. I'd give it a 5.5 out of 10. Great if you're wanting to know just about Jimmy Carter's involvment.

Reflect: You would use this site to see how/what involvment President Carter had to do with the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

Summary 2--- "The Iranain Hostage Crisis." Web. 10 May 2011. --- provided a lot of information, from start to finish on the Iranian Hostage Crisis. There were many problems that Americans at home had to deal with. The hostage crisis was one of the largest. For many, it was uncertain whether or not Carter was to blame. The U.S. was facing one of it's most dramatic problems of the year (last year of Carter's presidency). The U.S. feared that Mohammed Mossadegh was moving towards Moscow while the CIA started an operation to form one power under Shah. With good amounts of support, Shah lead Iran into prosperity. The revolution had began. Carter has said that Shah was "an island of stability" while ignoring that fact that Shah was in trouble. In the short time that Carter was in Tehran, many protests broke out in Qom. Many Islamic people were against Shah. When Carter embargoed Iranian oil. 6 days later, on November 17th, Khomeini agreed to letting some hostages go (women, African Americans and non U.S. citizens). However, after he had let go some hostages, two women and an African american man were still being held hostage. Spring came on, and negotiations seemed even further away. After time had passed, Carter agreed to a rescue mission. The mission was called "Desert One", which was announced on April 24th, 1980. The mission was a risk, but Carter felt like he had nothing else to do and it was time to take action. Later in September, Khomeini decided it was time to let the hostages go. Some thought that Carter would go in to get the hostages on his own in October (before the next election), but negotiations went on for months more.

Assess: The Information provided was really good, and easy to understand. If you are looking for more information on the subject, I would highly recommend that web site ( Very clear cut and to the point from start to finish.

Reflect: Great source that I (or anyone else) could use to find out information on the topic. I could use this for almost any part of my Wiki. If you wanted to get a main idea from start to finish, I would use this site.

Summary 3--- American Experience.PBS.1996-2010.Web. 10 May 2011.---This source provides information about Iran and America's relationship, pre-crisis, the Iranian Revolution, the actual crisis itself, and President Jimmy.Carter's response and plan of action. The information is good and easy to comprehend. It gave me a good general understanding of the topic, but I'll probably need to research in order to find more details. I have already used this source to give me a general knowledge of the subject.

Summary 4--- United States History.Web. 12 May 2011.--- This source provides information on the background of the crisis, negotiations and other failures, and the october surprise. The information on this website sounds semi opinionated but is easy to read and understand. The info is also detailed and specific with many helpful hyperlinks. I might use this source to help with learning more and researching more details about topics and people related to the crisis. Such as Jimmy Carter, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Iran-Contra Affair.

Summary 5---WGBA American Experience. Jimmy Carter, The Iranian Hostage Crisis. PBS. Web. 10 May 2011---The information was very clear cut, gave me enough information to understand the subject. But there was not too much information to overwhelm you about the subject. The site also gives you how the situation came about and also how it ended. Overall a very good source.
Assess The way that this website explained the Iranian Hostage Crisis very well it gave me enough background knowledge to understand where the hostages were taken to and how they got them there.

Reflect: You would use this information if you did not know what this topic was about. Very simple and easy to read.

Summary 6--- Strober, Gerald, Reagan. Houghton Mifflin Company. New York. 1998. Print
In this book it only gives you about a paragraph of information that explains the Iranian hostages subject so briefly it is almost too little information to understand the crisis The info states that the hostages were held for 444 days and then released.

Summary 7---Farber, David. Taken Hostage. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 2005. Print.
--- Farber writes, "..the troubles just kept coming. It was a game of chicken no one seemed to know how to escape and the head-on crash was not a pretty site" (1, Introduction). Which gives you a sense of how things were over in Iran. The CIA has been under a strict "read and burn" policy for quite some time. After bombs were taken to streets, trouble was expected. If there was to be an attack/invasion the people in the building were to destroy all forms of communication and keys. The other people who were not working on that, were to be burning evidence, papers, and files in the other end of the hall. The goal was to destroy anything and everything they wouldn't want the Iranians getting their hands on. Previously they had put steel bars on the windows and try to keep the Iranians out, but it didn't take long for them to break through and get in. During this time (the 1970's), America seemed to only be confronted with bad desicions. Most Americans were searching for a sense of direction.

Assess: This is a jam packed book with information. It's a very relaxed reading, not like a typical text message. It's more of a story of the people going through the Iranian Hostage Crisis. However, it's not just a made up story, it get information to you through the text.

Reflect: You could use this source to know more about what the people were going through, while being engaged in an interesting story based off of the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

Reflections and Conclusions

I really have learned a lot. This was something I just knew very briefly of. I'm still a little confused on why this all happened the way it did, and why Carter wasn't taking bigger steps towards getting the hostages free. Luckily, it all worked out in the end. I'm really glad that major things like that aren't still happening. I really did learn a lot on this topic and I'm sure that there is more that I could still learn. Basically, many people were taken hostage in Iran, and they were held for 444 days. After some hesitation, Carter finally took action to set them free. Although it was not a short process, Carter did a good job of safely getting them freed without causing a larger problem.

Multimedia and Comments

Iranian Hostage Crisis-
James Carter and The Rescue Mission!-
Jimmy Carter-Statement-Rescue Mission,_1979.jpgjpg

Works Cited

1- Farber, David. Taken Hostage. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 2005. Print.
2- "The Hostage Crisis in Iran." Jimmy Carter Library & Museum. 09 Feb. 2006. Web. 10 May 2011.
3- "The Iranian Hostage Crisis." Web. 10 May 2011.
4- "Iranian Hostage Crisis." United States History.Web.12 May 2011.
5- "Jimmy Carter." United States History.Web.16 May 2011.