Thursday, January 19, 2006

444



On November 4, 1979 militant Iranian students rushed the U.S. embassy in Iran and took 66 American hostages. 52 of those hostages would be held for the next 444 long days. During that time the hostages endured various forms of torture including mock executions.

The reasoning behind the storming of the embassy and the seizure of the hostages was that President Jimmy Carter allowed the deposed Shah of Iran to enter the United States in order to seek medical treatment. The Iranians wanted the Shah returned to Iran to stand trial. They also wanted the U.S. to return money taken by the Shah and a promise not to intefere with the Iranian government. Of course these demands were rejected and diplomatic ties were severed in conjunction with economic sanctions.

A rescue mission was attempted on April 24-25 1980 but failed in disaster when a helicopter and a C-130 transport plane collided shortly after the mission was aborted. Eight brave U.S. service men lost their lives.

Twenty-five years ago today after the death of the Shah some six months earlier, the invasion of Iran by Iraq, and after last minute negotiations by Carter in which he released some 8 billion dollars in Iranian assets the hostages were released shortly after President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.

These brave men should be remembered for their courage and for their service to our country. Thank you and once again WELCOME HOME!
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