Day 204 Of The War: Iran Hostage Crisis Revisited

As the situation with the hostages continues and there is no end in sight, I began thinking about the attack on the US embassy in Iran on November 4, 1979 and that hostage crisis. At the time, we still lived in Tel Aviv, but in the summer of 1980, we left Israel to study abroad, and the hostages were still in captivity in Iran. Like now, the 63 people who were inside the embassy believed they were safe, although there had been previous attempts to attack this American territory in Tehran.

Like now, the embassy was attacked by about 3000 terrorists, described at the time as a mob. Some of them were armed and, after a short siege on the embassy, took 63 American men and women hostage.

Today marks 204 days since our hostages were kidnapped by Hamas, there are: women, children, the elderly, and men. The hostages in Iran remained in captivity until January 20th, 1981, for more than 400 days. Like now, the US tried to convince its allies to enforce an embargo on Iran, and worst of all, there were many political considerations. And it is believed that the inexperienced president Carter, like Benjamin Netanyahu now, did not handle the crisis well. 

Ultimately  the Iranians released the hostages after their demands were met, on the same day as the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan. They didn’t want Jimmy Carter to have the achievement of releasing the hostages.

Since President Joe Biden has been in office for so long, I tried to find out what the then-Senator Joe Biden had to say about the Iran crisis.. At the time, he was on the Foreign Relations Committee but only in his second term in office. He joined Meet The Press on January 6th, 1980, after 5 hostages were moved into house arrest, which signaled that they were closer to being freed, and  offered his perspective on the unfolding crisis: “The most important thing, both for the American public and for the Iranians and the Ayatollah,  is to understand that the president is cool, calm, deliberate, and logical about the steps he is going to take, showing absolute resolve, not going in with a sense of bravado.” Furthermore, Biden warned against the use of excessive military force that could result in the death of the hostages.

What Biden said in 1980 is very  relevant to the crisis now, it is clear that Israel is not handling the hostage crisis well, and  needs help from outside.  President Biden has years of experience in international crises,  and Israel should better listen to him carefully and respectfully and learn from his experience. 

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
Related Topics
Related Posts