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Though the odds were against its success, the president was devastated when he had to abort the mission due to three malfunctioning helicopters.
On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of young Islamic revolutionaries overran the U. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 Americans hostage.
"From the moment the hostages were seized until they were released minutes after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office as president 444 days later," wrote historian Gaddis Smith, "the crisis absorbed more concentrated effort by American officials and had more The hostage crisis was the most dramatic in a series of problems facing Americans at home and abroad in the last year of the Carter presidency. It's hard to say, since the hostage crisis was merely the latest event in the long and complex relationship between the United States and Iran.
President Carter felt the plight of the hostages deeply, and considered their safe return his personal responsibility. On the 17th, Khomeini announced that female, African American, and non-U. citizen hostages would be released, because women and minorities already suffered "the oppression of American society." Fifty-three Americans (including two women, Elizabeth Ann Swift and Kathryn Koob, and one African American, Charles Jones) remained as hostages.
Deciding military action was too risky, Carter tried to build pressure on Iran through economic sanctions, and froze its assets in the U. While Secretary of State Cyrus Vance led the official diplomatic effort, spent thousands of hours working secret channels.
Though no one knew it at the time, Iran's Islamic revolution had begun.