November 4 - 1979 - The Iran Hostage Crisis Begins
For the most part, the Iranian Revolution had taken place with little violence. Once the Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, had left the country seeking cancer treatment in January of 1979 and the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile in February, the Islamic Republic was established with Khomeini as the Supreme Leader. Then a group of 200 university students stormed the United States Embassy on November 4. They were supporters of Khomeini, but had no direction from him when they took the Embassy. The students managed to hold 66 people hostage, and eventually did receive the support of the Ayatollah. This put the United States in a bind, which the administration of Jimmy Carter sought to resolve. After the hostage takers released 9 people, mostly African-Americans and women to show they were on the side of the oppressed, it appeared they would not let go. The Carter Administration attempted a military rescue, which failed horribly. Once the Iran-Iraq war broke out, Iran was more willing to negotiate. Yet Carter was facing a reelection campaign, seeking a second term in office. Eventually, Carter would lose exactly one year after the hostages were taken, and Iran did not release the hostages until Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, was sworn in as President.