On This Day — Iranian students storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran (November 4 1979) [2021]

“It is now very clear that there were two separate agreements, one the official agreement with Carter in Algeria, the other, a secret agreement with another party, which, it is now apparent, was Reagan. They made a deal with Reagan that the hostages should not be released until after Reagan became president. So, then in return, Reagan would give them arms. We have published documents which show that US arms were shipped, via Israel, in March, about 2 months after Reagan became president.”

Former Iranian President Abolhassan Banisadr


November 4 1979 — Iranian students storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran

November 4 2020 — On November 4 1979, a group of Iranian college students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days. The hostages were released just minutes after American President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“During my research, I spoke to several of the former hostages. I was deeply moved by the response of one in particular. After listening to the evidence, he said simply: ‘I don’t want to believe it. It’s too painful to think about it.’ Painful it is. But the rest of us are obliged to think about it. Hard.”

Gary Sick — Retired Naval Captain who served on Ford’s, Carter’s, and Reagan’s National Security Council

UPDATE (November 4 2021) — Banisadr died at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris on 9 October 2021, at age 88.

I had the opportunity to speak with him a few years ago. Banisadr was an intelligent and competent leader who really tried to do the very best for his country in the most difficult circumstances.

Banisadr told Khomeini that the US hostage-taking undermined the credibility of the revolution. Khomeini counter-argued, convinced that the crisis supported his domestic policy by appeasing his leftist critics.

“Taking hostages has increased our credibility … While the hostages are in our possession, they will not dare do anything”, he told a disgusted Banisadr. [The Guardian — Abolhassan Banisadr obituary]

Banisadr was absolutely convinced that Reagan — and his VP Bush — had negotiated a deal with Tehran regarding the hostages.


On January 20 1980, 20 minutes after Reagan concluded his inaugural address, the Islamic Republic of Iran announced the release of 52 Americans being held hostage in Iran since November 4 1979.

October Surprise conspiracy theory

Allegations that Reagan negotiated a delay in the release of the hostages until after the 1980 presidential election have been numerous.

RELATED POST: Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz Just Confirmed ‘October Surprise Conspiracy Theory’

Gary Sick was the principal White House aide for Iran and the Persian Gulf on the Carter administration’s National Security Council.

In his book “October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan”, he claimed that CIA Director William Casey — and possibly Vice President George H. W. Bush — went to Paris to negotiate such a delay.

In popular culture

The Academy Award–winning movie Argo was based on the taking of hostages by Iranian revolutionaries.

RELATED POST: CIA Master of Disguise Tony Mendez Dies at 78

The movie was criticized for changing the story considerably, including by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.

Iran Hostage Crisis 1979 (ABC News Report From 11/11/1979)  


Iran hostage crisis — Wikipedia


40 Years Ago — Iranian students storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran (November 4 1979)

On This Day — Iranian students storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran (November 4 1979)

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