On November 4, 1979, Iranian students storm
ed 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 resent
ed the perceive
of the United States and other West
ern powers in Iranian politics
and society. The U.S. had supported the Shah Reza Pahlavi, the autocratic
leader of Iran, who was depose
d 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 consequence
s. 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
d Iran in 1980. The U.S. provided military
support to Iraq during the brutal
eight-year war that followed.