2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

The End of an Era and the Iranian Hostage Crisis: Long-held US Policy Objectives and Assumptions Concerning Iran Falter in the Face of the Grassroots Islamic Revival and the Iranian Revolution
Elizabeth K. Winter
Dr. Kathryn Brammall, Faculty Mentor

President Carter's reluctant allowance of Shah Pahlavi into the US, following other policy miscalculations during 1979, was the immediate catalyst of the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The roots of this event and its aftermath are lodged in two overarching developments, which are explored in this paper. First, after WWII, US policymakers valued Iran as vital geographical partner in the Cold War, as a mediator in OPEC, and as a bulwark of stability in the Middle East and thus overlooked the Shah's oppressive domestic policies. The Iranian people did not; they believed fervently that the Shah was being controlled by the US. Second, the grassroots Islamic revival beginning in the 1970s and the Islamic Revolution changed the political dynamics in Iran. Nevertheless, the US attempted to preserve involvement in Iran through open and covert means without understanding the depth of anti-US sentiment and Islamic revolutionary objectives.

Keywords: Iran, US Policy, Iranian Hostage Crisis

Topic(s):History Senior Seminar

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 103-3
Location: VH 1236
Time: 8:30

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