For four hundred and forty four days, America sat by their televisions and radios to hear about what was going on in the Middle East. Iranian militants invaded the U.S. Embassy on November 4, 1979. Seventy inhabitants were taken hostage by the terrorists. The President of the United States, James E. Carter, was in for the challenge of his Presidency. He felt that patience and negotiation would help with the release of those hostages. His intent was to protect the United States and its interests while at the same time bringing home all the hostages safe, and sound. More than likely, based on his strong Southern Christian beliefs, he put a greater value on the lives of the hostages than the perception of weakness of our leadership and our country. He would not accept a military solution to the terrorist threat. His personal political career was also on the line, but he put this concern to the back of his mind as well. Bringing those hostages home alive and unharmed was his primary goal.
The Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, had been in control of Iran since 1941. He gained the support of the United States in the 1950's when there was political unrest in his country. He was expecting a possible loss of power to the prime minister. The oil industry in Iran was in danger of being nationalized and the Shah did not want this. With America's help they overcame this issue.
As time went on, the Shah used many American concepts and integrated them into the country's infrastructure. The Shah was able to integrate many of the western behaviors, stopping just short of broad political freedom, including vote. The more traditional religious groups and citizens protested this modernization and modification of their way of life and country concepts and many were arrested in riots that sprung forth in 1963. Most notably, one of the prisoners exiled was the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. This man was a great enemy of America, and considered the United States a bitter enemy.
In building up military strength, the Shah managed to break down the support of the citizens of Iran. He spent billions of dollars to increase weapons. The continued unrest started in the 1960's became too much to financially handle for the Shah and the country, and in January of 1979, he fled from the country in exile. He has never returned to the land he ruled for nearly forty years.
In February of that same year the popular and stringent Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran and took over control of the country. His rampant hate of anything western and primarily American was infectious. Shortly after his return to Iran he built up a great following of people who were intent upon destroying the infiltration of infidel futures in the country. He was conspiring with others to attack America. His best shot was during the time that the Shah of Iran, already exiled, traveled to the United States for cancer treatment. The US Embassy in Tehran was infiltrated and overrun on November 4, 1979. The militants were Iranian college students, incited to hate by a religious leader. One of their demands was that the United States turn the Shah over to them to be prosecuted. Another demand was that the United States agree to not interfere in their affairs of state.
Shortly after the takeover of the embassy in Tehran the world got busy. Immediate rejections of the actions of Iran were heard across the planet. Diplomatic ties were severed and economic sanctions were imposed. The talks began between the leadership of the militant group and President Carter.
There was an attempt in mid 1980 to rescue the hostages by military intervention. Fate was not on the side of the American servicemen, however, and great sandstorms created a disaster. Even though the Shah passed away of cancer in July of 1980, the hostage situation continued on through the year. During this year, in September, Iraq invaded Iran, and gained monetary support, while Iran maintained its desolate state of political isolation.
In January 1981, the day that Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States, the remaining 52 hostages were released. There is presumption that the 444 days of diplomacy were successful, however others are of the belief that the new President brought forth a power and defense that kept Iran from feeling the positive force of continuing their holding of those hostages. Regardless of whether it was diplomacy or the threat of immediate and unforgiving military action against the terrorist militants, everyone in the United States were elated that their citizens were finally free of the tyrants.
But the Iran hostage situation does not end there. For the next decades the hate of the western world kept building up. Those who were religious leaders continued to teach their intolerant beliefs that anyone who was not a Muslim was an infidel and worthy of annihilation. From 1981 to the current time, Iran has continued their fight against western influence in their doors. They did include a democratic process but the voting process has been accused of corruption by the religious leaders.
In 1999, twenty years after the Iran hostage crisis, many in the country celebrated the past events, however many were beginning to see the hope and light that comes with democratic processes and choices. This second group of people were looking toward possible future prospects. President Bill Clinton refuses to lift the oil embargos that were imposed upon the country, not allowing US oil to be transported to Iran. They were still anti-American, and unwavering in their opposition to democracy.
When diplomacy was again attempted in 2000, the moves to import necessaries to Iran, including food, medicines, and home comfort items, it was initially embraced by the political leadership, but was later declined as a ruse, and deceitful behavior of the US toward Iran. Basically the Ayatollah Khamenei said "too little too late". During the early years of the new millennium the CIA reports that Iran is actively attempting to become a nuclear power. Iran rejects these accusations, but future research proves this to be more truth than fiction.
Every move, every speech, and every interjection from the United States toward the country of Iran, from the early 1960's to date have caused Iran to complain. Regardless of the validity of the claims, they would reject and refute any comments that showed them in a negative light. Their lack of proper communications, and their ability to keep secrets well has the western world concerned about what their intentions are as a nation.