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1979 Iran Hostage Crisis: A Discussion

Why were they taken hostage?

How did this event affect America politically and economically?

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The Iran Hostage Crisis

From 4/11/ 1979 to 20/1/1981, 53 Americans were held for 444 days by a group of Islamic militant students who called themselves 'Imam's Disciples' (among them, present-day Iran Pres. Ahmadinejad). The root of their hatred against America was brought by decades of political strife within Iranian society which began in 1953 when the U.S. supported the installation of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi to become the nation's traditional Shah. His installation was then seen by the US as a checkmate against the growing influence of Moscow in the Middle East. This was especially problematic for his installation resulted to the displacement of Mohammed Mossadegh, then Iran's elected leader with very strong ties to the very political Islamic institution in Iran. This support to the Shah was instituted via 'Operation Ajax' and with the Shah in place, the U.S. received a favorable supply of oil in exchange for military and economic aid. Over the years, the Shah's reign brought a new prosperity to Iran but there was a constant complain in relation to wealth distribution. Not all citizens had access to opportunities and this was capitalized upon by the Islamic fundamentalists who stirred up hatred against the Shah, and by corollary, the US, calling the U.S. 'The Great Satan' for supporting the Shah. The leader of the militant ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides a discussion of the Iran Hostage Crisis, providing background information on what the hostage crisis was about, why it took place and its effect on US politics and economy. Online resources have been listed to help students find extra material on the topic.

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