30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Iran Revolution and Hostage Crisis, 1979-1981

Nov 4, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 4, 2019 – On November 4, 1979, a group calling itself the Students Following the Line of the Imam stormed the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, seized control of the compound, and took several dozen American diplomats, Marine guards, and others hostage. Thus began a 444-day ordeal that shocked the world, fundamentally altered the political scene in Iran, and cemented negative perceptions in the West of the country’s Islamic leadership. 

Feb 11, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 11, 2019 – U.S. intelligence analysts and Tehran-based diplomats struggled to come to grips with the tumult of the Iranian revolution, yet still managed at times to provide considerable detail for policymakers, according to a survey of formerly classified records posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

Nov 5, 1999 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 5, 1999 – The shocking seizure of the American embassy and its staff in Tehran on November 4, 1979, placed U.S.-Iran relations firmly in the deep freeze. Whatever hopes existed on either side for a rapprochement after the Shah’s departure at the start of the year were quickly doused. Twenty years later, the controversy over reestablishing ties rages on in both countries.