Iran Hostage Crisis
The hostage crisis in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, led by Islamic militants who seized it to press for the release of Iranian revolutionaries imprisoned for militant activities, began with the takeover of the embassy on Nov. 4, 1979. The hostages were held for 444 days, until they were released in a successful prisoner exchange on Jan. 20, 1981.
Jan. 2: 52 U.S. Embassy workers were taken hostage in an 11-day period ending with the release of 31 diplomats.
Feb. 6: President Jimmy Carter ordered a retaliatory air raid against an American military base near Iran and broadcast information about the hostages.
Feb. 13: Former hostage Howard Drake helped to plan the rescue attempt.
Feb. 20: A French minister and two American embassy employees went missing.
March 26: A Polish-American diplomat was killed in a storm.
May 12: The following day, the hostage crisis came to an end. The hostages were released and the 30 American hostages left the embassy. Four members of the Iranian delegation left the embassy immediately, declaring that the hostages would leave together. However, all of the American hostages left only one day later, according to an account in Roger Mudd’s book, Radio Carpathia, edited by Mudd, Barbara Sterenberg and Howard Pollack.