Iranian revolution and hostage crisis

March 11, 1979 — January 20, 1981

Iranian rebels and religious leaders overthrew the American-backed government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini assumed power. With the shah exiled and anti-Western sentiment growing in Iran, President Carter ordered Americans out of the country. On November 4, 1979, Americans remaining at the embassy in Tehran were kidnapped in retaliation for the US freezing funds for Iran and taking in the former shah. Sixty-six American hostages were held captive for 444 days, until their release on Jimmy Carter’s last day in office, January 20, 1981.

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