On November 4, 1979, Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in Iran and took about 90 people (including 66 Americans) hostage. The students were supporters of Iran’s fundamentalist Islamic Revolution, which had overthrown the government. Most American hostages—52—were not released for 444 days. 
 
Supporters of the Islamic Revolution resented the perceived influence of the United States and other Western powers in Iranian politics and society. The U.S. had supported the Shah Reza Pahlavi, the autocratic leader of Iran, who was deposed in the revolution. The shah fled to the U.S. and was being treated for cancer at a Texas hospital when the hostages were taken.
 
The Iran Hostage Crisis had both immediate and long-lasting consequences. Many historians say the crisis contributed to President Jimmy Carter’s defeat in the 1980 presidential election. (The hostages were released just hours before President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.) Although the hostage crisis brought international attention to the young Islamic Republic of Iran, the country did not benefit from the tactic, either. The U.S. cut all support it had provided to Iran during the shah’s leadership. Neighboring nation Iraq took advantage of this vulnerability and invaded Iran in 1980. The U.S. provided military and financial support to Iraq during the brutal eight-year war that followed.
advantage
Noun

favor or benefit.

autocratic
Adjective

having to do with a government or leadership where one party or individual has all power.

brutal
Adjective

extreme, harsh, or cruel.

cancer
Noun

growth of abnormal cells in the body.

consequence
Noun

result or outcome of an action or situation.

country
Noun

geographic territory with a distinct name, flag, population, boundaries, and government.

crisis
Noun

event or situation leading to dramatic change.

depose
Verb

to remove from office.

election
Noun

selection of people to public office by vote.

embassy
Noun

residence of an ambassador or place where representatives of a nation conduct business in another country.

financial
Adjective

having to do with money.

fundamentalism
Noun

organized movement or belief that advocates strict adherence to a religious doctrine and sacred text.

government
Noun

system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

hostage
Noun

person held as security until certain terms and conditions (such as payment of a ransom) are met.

immediate
Adjective

quickly or right away.

influence
Noun

force that effects the actions, behavior, or policies of others.

invade
Verb

to enter and attack.

Islam
Noun

religion based on the words and philosophy of the prophet Mohammed.

military
Noun

armed forces.

perceive
Verb

to understand, especially by viewing.

politics
Noun

art and science of public policy.

resent
Verb

to reject or dismiss due to a sense of injury or insult.

revolution
Noun

overthrow or total change of government.

shah
Noun

king of Persia or Iran.

society
Noun

large community, linked through similarities or relationships.

storm
Verb

to deliver a violent attack or assault.

tactic
Noun

procedure or method for accomplishing a goal.

vulnerability
Noun

capability of being hurt.

war
Noun

large-scale armed conflict.

West
Noun

having to do with the developed nations of Europe and North America.

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