Operation Eagle Claw

In 1980, after nearly six months of failed diplomatic negotiations for American hostages held at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, U.S. president Jimmy Carter approved a military rescue. This mission, known as Operation Eagle Claw, failed in its first stages but profoundly influenced the military structure of Special Operations Forces.

On November 4, 1979, a crowd of about 500 militant students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 66 Americans hostage. The siege came two weeks after Carter had allowed the former Shah of Iran, who was deposed during the Iranian revolution in 1978, into the United States for cancer treatment. Iran's new fundamentalist leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called for the United States to return the Shah, as well as for the end of Western influences in Iran.

By mid-November, 13 women and African Americans had been freed; however, the remaining 53 ...

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