what led to the Iranian hostage crisis? What political affects did it have on the Carter administration?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    it was triggered by hospitalization of former shah of iran in the US. the US embassy in teheran warned of dire consequences should the shah set foot in the US but the US felt it was doing a humanitarian act.

    it thus followed that iranian students ( with actual backing of Iran govt ) stormed the embassy and captured embassy personnel. the first few days and weeks were crucial as even Iran govt expected an armed response from the US. But attempts at diplomacy took precedence and it dragged on and on. And the more it did, the more convinced the iranian hostage takers and iran govt believed that US wanted to avoid a military confrontation. For them it was the chance to take the lead in the muslim world and show the weakness of the US.

    When Pres Carter finally decided at a military rescue, the delta force ( led by its founder as commander ) and other military units were sent to a remote former military base in the desert as staging point but encountered ' divine interference ' ( as the Iranians put it ) as strong gusts of wind resulted in the downing of their helicopters. The rescue attempt was done at night and it was later found out that the plan was flawed in many ways. not the best experienced helicopter pilots available were sent and on top of that they didnt use their own helicopters and so were groping with the ones they used; bad luck also struck them as radios failed and night vision googles also failed and one helicopter lost its way and was delayed arriving at the remote base. the delay also meant that delta force commander found himself with insufficient number of helicopters and men to proceed with the rescue and thus to abort. but as the copters were flying out of the base ( pilots were very tired after spending entire night flying over hundreds of miles of desert ) the sand and the winds disoriented one pilot and his copter hit another. on top of that, an iranian patrol saw the US copters and were fired upon. expecting iranian fighter jets to come any minute, the evacuation was so disorganized even as the radio of the delta commander was not working and dead US soldiers were not recovered.

    it is said that this failed rescue revealed the inadequacy of coordination of the different military branches involved ( marine, delta, airforce, national guard, navy and rangers took part ) and eventually gave birth to the concept of joint military command to oversee military operations of this type.

    the failed rescue became a standard and required casebook study for military cadets and planners. one aspect that was looked at as a cause for the tragic rescue was the utmost secrecy placed on the planning such that involved military units did not even know each other and did not train and practice together, and not enough on their individual separate trainings.

    in the aftermath of the failed rescue, where the iranians showed on tv the bodies of dead US soldiers and the downed helicopters, pres carter lost on his reelection bid.

    the hostages were finally released when ronald reagan took oath as US president. this was quite ironic, and revealed their ignorance of workings of US politics, that iranians chose to humiliate Carter, a democrat, and personally against dictators like the Shah, and instead appeared to prefer Reagan, a republican, who soon took on the Soviets and the Iranians. thus, the iran-iraq war years later followed with US and Europeans backing Saddam Hussein as they tried to contain Iranian attempts at spreading their fundamentalist type of govt. and in another ironic turn, iraq soon turned against the west and US had to lead an invasion into Iraq.

    several of the hostages sued the Iranian govt but nothing came of it. it was found out that some women hostages were raped.

    on a side note, the israelis supposedly offered to join the rescue attempt given their experience at the entebbe rescue but were declined by the americans.

  • 1 decade ago

    Jimmy Carter kept his campaign promise to stop supporting allies who did not live up to American ideals. Without the backing of the US government, the Shah's regime fell. Because the US had been allies of the Shah until the time of Carter's betrayal, the revolutionaries had no compunctions against attacking the US Embassy and taking hostages.

    The international humiliation to the US by the hostage crisis along with double digit inflation showed the American people that, although he was an ethical guy, Jimmy Carter had no understanding of how the world really worked and no business being president of the United States. Thus the stage was set for and eight years of Ronald Reagan. The nightmare was over and we had "Morning in America."

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Carter has done wonderful humanitarian things since leaving the office, and incredibly unscrupulous political commentary and dealings, but his worst years of his life were as U.S. President. He deposed the U.S.' strongest ally, and primary stabilizing force in the Middle East, the Shah of Iran. This led to clerics coming to power, and changed the complexion of government leadership in the entire region, transferring the balance of power to extremists, and ushering in the age of terrorism, and ultimately, the U.S. Embassy being seized along with the hostages. They were held, I believe, 444 days, and paraded almost nightly on international television. What did Jimmy provide in return? Benign "peace talks" that led nowhere, a botched rescue mission that led to the death of two helicopter loads of Special Forces troops, and world embarassment.

    Reagan promised the American people that if elected, he would not tolerate this unacceptable treatment of Americans at the hands of foreign governments, and he would not negotiate with terrorists. The world knew he was serious, and the Ayatollah released the hostages the day Reagan was inaugurated, before he could take office and become commander in chief.

  • 1 decade ago

    The other person answered your question but forgot that when the hostages were released 444 days later it was a slap in Carters face since Iran would not release them until Reagan took office. I was on the way over there in the Navy when they were set free

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  • pj
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Iran's revolution deeply altered that country's relationship with the United States. The deposed Iranian ruler, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, had been close to a succession of U.S. administrations, and this had produced deep suspicion and hostility among Iran's revolutionary leaders, from both the left and right of the political spectrum. Beginning in the fall of 1978, the U.S. embassy in Tehran had been the scene of frequent demonstrations by Iranians who opposed the American presence in the country, and on February 14, 1979, about a month after the shah had fled Iran, the embassy was attacked and briefly occupied. The embassy weathered this assault, during which several of its personnel were killed or wounded, but Iran was in the throes of enormous revolutionary change, which called for a new U.S. posture in Iran. Consequently, by the start of the hostage crisis, the embassy staff had been cut from more than 1,400 men and women before the revolution to about 70. In addition, attempts had been made to arrive at a modus vivendi with Iran's provisional government, and during the spring and summer the Iranian authorities sought to strengthen security around the embassy complex.

    In October 1979 the U.S. State Department was informed that the deposed Iranian monarch required medical treatment that his aides claimed was available only in the United States; U.S. authorities, in turn, informed the Iranian prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan, of the shah's impending arrival on American soil. Bazargan, in light of the February attack, guaranteed the safety of the U.S. embassy and its staff. The shah arrived in New York City on October 22. The initial public response in Iran was moderate, but on November 4 the embassy was attacked by a mob of perhaps 3,000, some of whom were armed and who, after a short siege, took 63 American men and women hostage. (An additional three members of the U.S. diplomatic staff were actually seized at the Iranian Foreign Ministry.) Within the next few days, representatives of U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Tehran-based diplomats from other countries attempted but failed to free the hostages. An American delegation headed by former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark—who had long-standing relations with many Iranian officials—was refused admission to Iran.

    Quoted from the Encyclopedia Britannica Online (a subscription database which you may have access to throught your local library)

    Source(s): Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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