Iran releases US hostages

(638 words)
  • Lucas Paul Richert (University of Saskatchewan)

Historical Context Essay

On 20 January 1981, 52 American hostages were released from captivity, after being held for 444 days. The hostages were released just minutes after the inauguration of President Ronald Wilson Reagan. The origin of the hostage situation rested in the 1979 Iranian revolution and the American government's relationship with the deposed Mohammed Reza Shah Phalavi. During the revolution, an Islamic theocracy was established as the model of government and the spiritual (and hence political) leader of the new government was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He had roundly criticized the U.S. government for its meddling in Iran and its support of the shah, who was known to have used coercive and violent tactics to quell dissent. In October 1979, the …

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Richert, Lucas Paul. "Iran releases US hostages". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 October 2008
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]