Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentGovernment · 10 years ago

Why did the Iranians free the American Embassy hostages immediately upon Ronald Reagan being inaugurated?

In early 1978, upon Ronald Regan's first inaugural address marking the end of Jimmy Carter's presidency, the new Iranian regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran (the one we know today), released the remaining hostages in the American Embassy Hostage Crisis. Why? Why did the decide to release them when Ronald Reagan came into power?

It would also be very helpful if someone could explain to me as to exactly why the American embassy in Tehran was seized in the first place. I know relations were extremely strained between the people and the American government following the coup in 1953.


I've heard something like the sheriff analogy before, but I've also heard suggestions that maybe behind the curtains Reagan paid the Iranians to release the rest of the hostages once he was sworn in to boost his public image. But then again, Carter was all about peace and negotiation (though he did attempt to rescue them militarily).

5 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Reagan was elected in 1980 and inaugurated on January 20, 1981.

    The embassy was seized because of anti-American feelings among Iranians. Carter *was* America to the Iranians. Further, they were furious with him over his attempt to rescue the hostages (which failed because of one unreliable helicopter).

    So first, they wanted to embarrass Carter, whose final year in office was dominated by the hostage crisis, specifically getting them back alive. However, Carter absolutely refused Iranian proposals to release the hostages in exchange for weapons.

    It is widely speculated that Reagan sent back-channel messages to the Iranians that he would not be quite so firm on that issue, and his future actions bore that out.

    His public stance was the same as Carter's. No negotiation with terrorists. However, he was secretly sending large shipments of arms (Have you ever seen a C5-A?) to the Iranians in exchange for the release of hostages they seized on his watch.

    Google up, "Oliver North," if you are interested in Reagan's illegal shipments of weapons to Iran.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    The Iranians gave up the hostages after Reagan was elected probably because they were threatened with attack by the U.S. Jimmy Carter would not have taken that action. Republicans see military gung ho as an extension of their male parts and are emotionally immature and petulant alpha males. Jimmy Carter is a peaceful man. Republican men see aggression as a patriotic characteristic. Thats why they condemn Pres. Obama for making peace treaties and trying to reduce our own nuclear weapons. As long as we have those weapons, we are the Alpha country. We should not bully, threaten and intimidate as Republicans like to do. That is why Iran does not cooperate. We treat them badly.

  • 10 years ago

    The hostages left Iranian airspace as Reagan was giving his swearing in speech

  • 10 years ago

    They did this to put Jimmy Carters nose out of joint, they released them just as Reagan took the oath.

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  • 10 years ago

    Because there was a new sheriff in town and they were afraid of him.

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