The day the Iran hostage crises started – level 3
In 1979, a revolution culminates in Iran, ending the Shah’s rule and turning the country into an Islamic republic. The Shah applies to enter the United States where he wants to be treated for the disease he is suffering from. Americans aren’t happy but agree.
On November 4, 1979, a large demonstration of students supporting the revolution in Iran takes place in Tehran. American flags are burnt. People are demanding the Shah’s return because they want to judge him for his crimes. Protesters take the US embassy by storm and take employees hostage. The country’s main spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, supports the occupation of the US embassy.
The Americans are trying to release the hostages through diplomacy, but that doesn’t work. Then the Americans prepare a military rescue plan. They send 8 helicopters with specially trained soldiers to free the hostages.
However, rescue operations fail miserably. Three helicopters have technical defects and another helicopter crashes into a plane that is used for refuelling. The hostages remain in Iran and are released after 444 days.
Difficult words: culminate (to finish), take hostage (to keep somebody a prisoner because you want something for his release), occupation (when someone takes over a place), diplomacy (when you talk with others to try not to fight), defect (a problem), refuel (to fill a machine with fuel), remain (to stay).
What were the implications of the failed rescue operation for the political relationship between the US and Iran?
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