It is now 40 years since a two-day United States rescue mission known as Operation Eagle Claw failed in the desert near Tabas, Iran.
The top-secret mission, led by special forces, was an attempt by then US President Jimmy Carter to bring home more than 50 Americans held hostage by Iranian revolutionaries for more than 400 days in the foreign ministry and US Embassy in Tehran.
Ultimately, the mission was aborted amid a perfect storm of problems, including malfunctioning helicopters. Eight American soldiers and one Iranian on the ground were killed when a helicopter crashed. Not a single captive was rescued.
A new documentary, Desert One, takes an in-depth look at the mission and features interviews with Carter, former hostages, journalists and some of the Iranian student revolutionaries who planned the takeover of the embassy.
In the US, the crisis is widely considered a key reason why Carter lost a subsequent presidential election to Ronald Reagan. In Iran, it is largely seen as payback for a US and United Kingdom-backed coup that in 1953 overthrew a democratically-elected prime minister and installed a king – or shah – who ruled with an iron first until he was toppled during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
In this episode of The Stream, we discuss the making of the new documentary and examine the long-term effects of the hostage crisis.
On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Director, Desert One
Marine security guard, US Embassy, Tehran 1979-1981
Source: Al Jazeera