Explainer: The Iran Hostage Crisis

Iran Hostage Crisis, also known as the Iran Hostage Crisis, took place between September 16, 1981 and January 3, 1983. It began after U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his British counterpart Margaret Thatcher issued…

Explainer: The Iran Hostage Crisis

Iran Hostage Crisis, also known as the Iran Hostage Crisis, took place between September 16, 1981 and January 3, 1983.

It began after U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his British counterpart Margaret Thatcher issued joint ultimatums to Tehran regarding the 444 day long hostage crisis in Lebanon.

Demonstrators in Iran responded by calling on members of the Islamic Revolution Council (IRC) to declare the execution of U.S. Embassy staff in Tehran in August 1981.

The government responded by executing 100 alleged rioters, parading them in public.

A week later, two police officers were shot dead and many wounded in Mashhad.

In retaliation, Iranian militants attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tehran killing 52 employees of the compound.

President Sadat of Egypt, backed by Pakistan, demanded that Iranian authorities return the embassy staff and called for an international inquiry into the hostage taking.

When the prisoners refused, Carter ordered the European nations to pull out of the Tehran Conference and European Commission Director General Jacques Eliscu was expelled from Iran.

Iran ultimately accepted the European Union’s return and Egypt later withdrew its remaining troops.

Britain then returned the Americans to their embassy and staged an even larger protest demanding the Iranian government release all the hostages.

In response, a militia defused a bomb placed outside the home of the then International Atomic Energy Agency head, Hans Blix.

Iran agreed to Blix’s demands, freeing the remaining embassy staff.

The official death toll from the crisis was 69 American, 44 British and 3 French hostages.

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