America held hostageRoundup
tags: Middle East, foreign policy, Iran
David Marks is an investigative reporter and documentary filmmaker.
On January 4, a day after the United States assassinated Iranian military General Qassem Soleimani, US President Donald Trump warned that if Iran retaliated, he would hit 52 Iranian sites. The targets represented the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days in November 1979.
The Iran hostage crisis influences Iranian and US politics to this day. An open re-examination of it could help us understand how respect for US constitutional law has been degraded in the decades since.
Coup, revolution, coup
In early 1979, the shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, installed in a 1953 coup to protect foreign oil interests, was overthrown by a revolution. In April that year, Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic republic.
Partially in response to the US giving refuge to the fleeing monarch, and largely due to years of American support for a repressive regime, students stormed the US embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, seizing the Americans who worked there.