Segments in this Video

Iranian Revolution (04:13)


The government structure collapses when the Shah leaves Iran and Ayatollah Khomeini returns. Revolutionaries execute top officials around the country. Ebrahim Asgharzadeh authors the plan to occupy the American embassy and take hostages; the occupation lasts 444 days. (Credits)

Day 1: November 4, 1979 (09:49)

The Iranian Revolution results in a staff reduction at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Demonstrators converge outside and some jump the fence. Staff move to other areas and destroy sensitive documents. Radicals seize hostages; Kathryn Koob contacts the Department of State.

8 Months Before Embassy Takeover (05:17)

The U.S. hopes to establish a relationship with the new government; Iranian officials build a constitution. For many radicals, the Revolution is not over. On October 22, 1979, the U.S. admits the Shah for medical treatment; embassy officials in Tehran fear reprisal.

Anti-American Atmosphere (04:34)

Many Iranians see the Shah's entry to the United States as a conspiracy, further increasing U.S. hatred. The Student Followers of the Imam’s Line want to defend the Revolution and Ebrahim Asgharzadeh devises three plans, one of which is to occupy the American embassy.

Day 2: November 5, 1979 (06:16)

Iranian students demand the Shah's return and a change in U.S./Iran relations. Asgharzadeh realizes blindfolding the hostages was a mistake. Activists capture two more Americans and take them to the embassy. Massoumeh Ebtekar reads the students' statements to the press.

U.S./Iran Relationship (05:58)

In 1953, the U.S. government helps overthrow duly elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and reinstates the Shah. The U.S. continues to support the Shah and ignores human rights violations. In 1979, many Iranians view the Shah's admittance into the U.S. as another conspiracy.

Hostage Crisis (04:44)

Tens of thousands of people crowd the streets of Tehran in support of the embassy takeover; anti-American sentiments are strong. Khomeini endorses the embassy occupation, shifting the movement. Iranian government officials resign en masse and the Islamic Revolutionary Council takes control.

Day 3: November 6, 1979 (02:30)

The students obtain weapons and the movement shifts away from the 48-hour plan. Khomeini confirms the hostages will remain in custody until the U.S. returns the Shah.

Day 14: November 17, 1979 (02:53)

The students follow Khomeini's orders to release several women and people of color for immediate expulsion from Iran. The Iranians will try the remaining hostages as spies under Islamic law.

Day 24: November 27, 1979 (05:07)

The students claim the U.S. embassy is a den of espionage plotting against the Iranian people. They work to reassemble shredded documents and threaten the hostages. Michael Metrinko recalls his time in solitary and interrogations. The students are not concerned about psychological damage.

Ayatollah Khomeini (06:47)

"Time" names Khomeini their Man of the Year. He assumes power as a religious leader and obtains a constitutional referendum. Many of Khomeini's fatwas are against women's rights. Experts reflect on recognizing Khomeini’s true character and the embassy occupation.

Credits: Part 2: Den of Spies (Hostages) (01:02)

Credits: Part 2: Den of Spies (Hostages)

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Part 2: Den of Spies (Hostages)

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November 1979. In protest of the United States’ long-standing relationship with the now-deposed Shah, an Iranian student group plans a 48-hour sit-in at the American embassy in Tehran. But what starts as a political statement quickly turns into chaos as Khomeini’s regime sanctions the embassy takeover and uses it to shore up power.

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL283442

Copyright date: ©2022

Closed Captioned

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