Crisis Negotiation: Revisiting the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979.
Negotiation can be defined as the method by which the concerned people (parties) settle down disputes by conversing and eventually coming to an ultimate declaration either between or among them.
There are two types of negotiation namely collaborative and competitive negotiation.
http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h2021.html Ode C.R
Back in the sands of time there was a hostage crisis that happened in Iran about 6.30 in the morning of 4th November in 1979.It involved two countries ,America and Iran .It was staged by Anti-America and anti-shah (Mohammed Reza Pahlavi opposers) protestors –both students and militants .They caught the American government unprepared and without any means to act.
It could be attributed to deteriorating diplomatic relations between America and Iran but according to the protesters, and according to Imam Khomieni it was a second revolution and the American Embassy was said to be “American spy den in Tehran “
It started when a group of between three hundred to five hundred irate students who referred to themselves as ‘’Imams Disciples’’ or “Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line “ stormed the American Embassy in Tehran (led by Ebrahim Asgharzadeh a twenty four year old and electrical student) ands held captive(hostage) American nationalities (inclusive of diplomats) numbering sixty six. Some six diplomats evaded capture namely (Roberts Anders ,Mark J. Lijek ,Joseph D. Stafford (the three of them consular officers) ,Cora A.Lijek ,Kathleen F.Stafford (the two of them consular assistants), and Henry L.Schatz (an Agriculture Attaché. )
Six of the captive takers, guards and interrogator were: Mahmoud Ahmedinejad (the current president), Hussein Sheikholeslam, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh (the one who hatched the idea), Mohsen Mirdamadi and Masoumeh Ebtekar (who was an interpreter)
Before he had masterminded the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh had consulted with the Departmental Heads of the associations of Islamic main universities in Tehran among them Iran University of Science and Technology, University of Tehran, Shariff University of Technology, and Amirkabir University of Technology (Polytechnic of Tehran).
Later,Ebrahim Asgharzadeh would say that the students at the initial (first) meeting were a handful that numbered five among them today’s president of Iran,Mahmoud Ahmedinejad but the matter has been greatly refuted by the Iranian administration both the right-wing and the left-wing and also supported by the investigations conducted by the C.I.A.
The initial motive was to hold hostage the diplomats and the staff for a couple of days and at most seven days.
The initial target was the Russian embassy as the Soviets’ regime was communist and anti-God.
Also theyhad subscribed to the services of the police guarding the American Embasy and also that of Islamic Revolutionary Guards.
The protesters put blindfolds on the Embassy marine soldiers and the workforce and lined them in front of the cameramen.Some of the office staff and diplomats had put on high gear and run for their dear lives but unfortunately, some of them were captured by the Islamists as captives. Those that escaped the dragnet of the militants and the protesting students (six of them) seeked refuge either on the neighbouring Canadian or the Swiss Embassies for three months and later they used Canadian passports on 20th January in 1980 and travelled to the U.S.
Even if 13 women and American citizens of African-American origin were set free on November 19th and 20th 1979, 53 captives were were held hostage for 1 year and 79 days.Midway the bellyflop, one of the hostages was freed (Richard I.Queen), in July 1980, because of deteriorating health which was later to be realized to be multiple sclerosis.The other 52 completed the full captive period until they were released on 20th January in 1981.
The hostages were tortured emotionally on 5th February in 1980 when those guarding them covered in black ski face masks awoke them from their sleep and forcefully told them to strip to their pants and mock executed and the guards had readied themselves to fire but then they cocked off their guns.
Another hostage (Allan B. Golacinski )was threatened that his legs would be boiled in oil ,another captive by the name Rick Kupke was threatened that his eyes would be cut out while another one by the name Daivd Roeder )was told that he would be eliminated and pieces of him sent to his wife back in America .
One of the hostages, Michael Metrinko was held alone in a cell for 14 days and twice, when he castigated Ayatollah Khomeini,he was handcuffed for one day and one night,tortured physically and supplied with a diet of bread and water only.
Another captive (who was an Army medic) by the name Donald Hohman went on a hunger strike for a handful of weeks. Another hostage became hopeless and smashed at a water glass, sliced his wrists as he was locked in a dark underground room while his hand was tightly tethered and arching terribly
The reason behind this was that the Central Intelligence Agency(C.I.A) and the M16 had conducted had staged “Operation Ajax” in 1953 an action that ousted an appropriately voted for Prime Minister,Mohammed Mossadegh and in the process put the leadership of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as Iran’s customary and ancestral shah /ruler(monarch). The agreement stated that in barter for the military and financial assistance, there would be a nonstop providance of crude oil to America.
The grave mistake done by Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was pledging to his people individual unrestrictions among other changes at the start of 1960s and those promises were never fulfilled.
Meanwhile, he continued to amass his wealth and to make the matter worse, switched on to the Western code of life an act that irated the Iranian citizens.
The clergy started lecturing greatly and vociferously in opposition to to Pahlavi and his wife and the action propelled the citizens to conduct a revolution. When it became a pin-scartch in the lungs, the shah had no otherwise but to renounce the throne and in 1979, he exited the country and went to Egypt.
His successor, Ayatollah Khomeini, castigated the American administration and lambasted with words like “Enemy of Islam” and “Great Satan”.
Later the ex –shah was found to be suffering from lymphoma and he requested to be treated by American doctors and his plea was accepted .That was what irated so much the Iranians and subsequently it lead them break to the American Embassy in Tehran .
As a counter-measure the then president of U.S ,Jimmy Carter ,did anything in his power to hasten the release of the hostages using the diplomatic power.Foremost, he expelled the imports of crude oil from that country.Secondly,he excluded people of Iranian origin from living in America . Ultimately, he freezed the possessions of Iran worth approximately $ 8 billion that were put in America Banks.
Initially, the Iranian administration had refused to accept the fact that they were behind the act of kidnapping but since they could not ensure the freedom of the hostages, it was a satisfactory proof that it had masterminded the act.At a loss, the American government had just to grin and bear it as its efforts had reached a rock-bottom as its political, diplomatical and economical counter-measures bore no fruits.
The requests that were made by so that the hostages could be released could not be met by the U.S government.
The demands was that ;the ousted shah go back to Iran ,the American government’s pledge to let the Iran government mind its own business and a confession of its involvement in the Iran government’s business mostly the coup dated in 1953.None of the demands colud be afforded by the U.S government but surprisingly and from an unforeseen and unprecedeneted scope,one of the demands was fulfilled with the death of the shah.Since the other could not be met ,the U.S government had to relax,be patient and let be steered by the Iranian government. that Jimmy Carter had failed to negotiate the release of all the hostages(except one initiative by P.L.O(Palestinian Liberation Organization ) that secured the release of 13 women and African-American captives,staged a shoddy rescue mission(dubbed “Operation Eagle Claw”) on which 8 servicemen of two helicopters died when the choppers were refueling stop and the destruction of two choppers in a sandstorm.it cost him the presidential election 20 minutes after Ronald Reagan won over him and was Reagan’s sworn in, the hostages were released shortly thereafter.
The America government decided to conduct a rescue mission but it suffered “impotence” when one of their C-130 transport plane crashed as it was taking off and the footage was broadcast by Iranians the next morning after Ronald Reagan agreed to their demand: to sell to the Iranians U.S weapons considering the fact that Ronald Reagan had pledged “never to negotiate with terrorists.
Twenty one days later, the new elected president (Ronald Reagan) declared that the American government will not get in the way of the Iranian domestic affairs and reaffirmed his aid for the shah.
Lessons that America learnt from the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979
The America’s form of conduct from the ordeal was satisfactory evidence to the world that terrorism works (as told by commentor Ted Koppel)
There is the need to sensibly rally for national union at trying moments in their past times
Regulating both sides in terms of political strengths both locally and overseas
Realize eventually their similar and world-wide interests to upgrade their international diplomatic relations to instill the sanctity of people’s lives and how to lessen the levels of small conflicts before they become bigger that may be of great concern to those that it may affect.
Another lesson learnt by the American administration was what crucial information got lost and how such violations of the security can or may be averted in the days to come.
The America government that in accordance with their embassies every document should be shredded soon after being received because if for example the offices of the Charge d’Affairs were shredded the militants could not have gained the data that two American executives ,William Daugherty and Malcolm Kalp were C.I.A. officers.
C.Jimmy 2011 Iran’s Hostage Crisis in 1979 Retrieved on 15th April 15, 2011 from
http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.gov/Jimmy Carter Library and Museum
C.Jimmy (2006) Iran’s crisis of 1979 Retrieved on 15th April 15, 2011 from