Search Results for iran

Fake Eyeglasses and an Elaborate Ruse: Escaping Iran During the 1979 Hostage Crisis

With forged passport in hand, Kathleen Stafford donned fake eyeglasses and pulled her long hair back. If this plan worked, she would finally be free. Kathleen, a foreign service spouse, had been in hiding for the past three months. On November 4, 1979, Islamist revolutionaries attacked the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Smoke billowed from the […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
Migrating with Iran’s Bakhtiari Tribe Before the Revolution: A Tale From the Foreign Service

Back when the United States had diplomatic missions in Iran, a young Foreign Service Officer  travelled with members of the nomadic Bakhtiari tribe to better understand their culture and politics.  Malcolm Butler recalls camping with the Bakhtiari at the time of the 1969 Apollo IX moon landing — and trying to convince his skeptical hosts […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
Wait ‘til the Winter: Iran, Iraq and the Kurdish Rebellion

Iraqi Kurds are scheduled to hold a referendum on independence in September, 2017. The Kurdistan region of about five million people already has a great deal of autonomy, with its own parliament and armed forces, but relations with the central Iraqi government have become increasingly strained in recent years. This latest development tracks with a […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
Finale of the Persian Monarchy and Prelude to the Iranian Revolution

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, departed Tehran on January 16, 1979 to seek medical treatment and to escape growing political unrest in the country he ruled. The Shah had consolidated his hold on power after the 1953 U.S.-backed overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh and was considered a vital ally to the U.S., a leader […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Espionage, Human Rights, Middle East, Military Tagged , , |
Iran-Contra: Who Knew What When?

In the Iran-Contra Affair, Colonel Oliver North and others within the National Security Council and CIA used back channels and secret bank accounts to funnel money from arms deals with Iran, which was then under an arms embargo, to the Contra rebels fighting the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. One aim of this plan was to […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Espionage, Hostage, Military, Terrorism, Western Hemisphere Tagged , , , , |
The Canadian Caper, Argo, and Escape from Iran

The years leading up to the autumn of 1979 in Iran proved to be turbulent, resulting in a radical transformation of the nation. The U.S had backed the semi-absolutist monarchy of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, even when the increasing popularity of Islamic fundamentalism, Iranian Nationalism, and opposition to western influence exploded, culminating in protests against […]

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The Coup Against Iran’s Mohammad Mossadegh

Mohammad Mossadegh became Prime Minister of Iran in 1951 and was hugely popular for taking a stand against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a British-owned oil company that had made huge profits while paying Iran only 16% of its profits and often far less. His nationalization efforts led the British government to begin planning to remove him […]

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The Iran-Contra Scandal

One of the biggest foreign policy scandals of the last half-century was the Iran-Contra affair, in which the Reagan Administration, prodded by CIA Director William Casey and NSC Advisor Oliver North, secretly arranged for an arms-for-hostage deal with one of its bitterest enemies in the Middle East. Put simply, Israel would sell weapons from the […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Consular, Hostage, Middle East, Military, Terrorism, Western Hemisphere Tagged , , , , , |
The Iran Hostage Crisis — “I had very little faith in my government protecting me”

On November 4, 1979, some 3000 radical Iranian students protested at the U.S. embassy. The embassy had been taken over earlier in the year but the problem was resolved quickly leading most to believe this situation would be similar. People were angry over President Jimmy Carter’s decision to allow the Shah of Iran, who had […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Hostage, Middle East, Terrorism Tagged , , |
USS Vincennes Shoots Down Iran Air Flight 655

The Iran-Iraq War created turmoil in the Persian Gulf as the combatants attacked civilian oil tankers, merchant ships, and other foreign vessels in the area. This resulted in several conflicts between Iranian and American ships. In May 1987, the Iraqi Air Force killed 37 American sailors on board USS Stark, an American Navy frigate. Another […]

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