“Mehrabad is like many Middle Eastern or South Asian airports. Although of fairly modern construction, the people who pass through as travelers or hang around to greet or see travelers off make an orderly transit impossible. This was another reason for choosing the 7:30 a.m. Swissair flight. If we arrived at the airport at 5 a.m., the chances were the airport would be less chaotic. Also, the officials manning the controls might still be sleepy, and most of the Revolutionary Guards would still be in their beds. This was the case that Monday morning, 28 January 1980.”
Tony Mendez — Former CIA Officer
January 28 2020 — The “Canadian Caper” was the popular name given to the joint covert rescue by the Canadian government and the CIA of six American diplomats who had evaded capture during the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, after the Iranian Revolution, when Islamist students took most of the American embassy personnel hostage, demanding the return of the US-backed Shah for trial. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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After the diplomats had been sheltered by the British mission and Canadian diplomatic personnel, the Canadian and United States governments worked on a strategy to gain their escape through subterfuge and use of Canadian passports.
The “caper” involved CIA agents (Tony Mendez and his colleague known as “Julio” for this event) joining the six diplomats in Teheran to form a fake film crew.
It was purportedly made up of six Canadians, one Irishman and one Latin American, who were finishing scouting for an appropriate location to shoot a scene for the nominal science-fiction film Argo.
On Which Day?
According to Wikipedia,
“On the morning of Sunday, January 27, 1980, the full eight-person party passed through passport control, at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, boarded a Swissair flight to Zürich and escaped Iran.”
This date — January 27, 1980 — appears in many sources posted on the internet.
And yet it is not correct. To be sure I read the story written by Tony Mendez which is still posted on the CIA website (see quote at the top of this post and article in the reference) as well as the book he wrote (The Master of Disguise).
There is not doubt that the exfiltration of the diplomats occurred in the morning of Monday January 28, 1980.
Ben Affleck and Tony Mendez Interview: ARGO
Emmy winner Jake Hamilton sits down to talk with director Ben Affleck and real-life CIA Operative Tony Mendez to talk about this history behind the new film, ARGO
A Classic Case of Deception by Tony Mendez — CIA Website
On This Day — CIA Exfiltrates 6 Diplomats from Iran (January 28 1980)
On This Day — CIA Exfiltrates 6 Diplomats From Iran (January 28 1980)