Iran’s Revolutions, Coup By US, and Hostage Taking

November, 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of Iranian students seizing the American embassy and taking its employees hostage. Relations between the U.S. and Iran have been strained ever since; the U.S. has frequently condemned Iran as a rogue or outlaw state that cannot be trusted. But there are two sides to Iranian-American relations, as this interview on NPR with Assal Rad, a research fellow at the nonpartisan National Iranian American Council, makes clear. (Click.)

In American popular memory, the movie “Argo” pretty much represents the trauma U.S. citizens remember when they think of Iran:

(Available from for rent or purchase; and from other streaming services.)

But historical study asks us to put things in context, which John Green attempted to do in this 2015 Crash Course World History lecture. He discusses Iran’s Revolutions. “Yes, revolutions plural. What was the 1979 Iranian Revolution about? It turns out, Iran has a pretty long history of unrest in order to put power in the hands of the people, and the most recent revolution in 1979 was, at least at first, not necessarily about creating an Islamic state. It certainly turned out to be about that, but it was initially just about people who wanted to get rid of an oppressive regime. Listen up as John teaches you about Iran’s long history of revolution.” Transcript.


1: Caryl, Christian. Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century. New York, Basic Books. 2014, p. 11 Citation

2: Axworthy, Michael, Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic. Oxford U. Press. 2014, p. 62 Citation

3: Quoted in Axworthy, p. 81 Citation

4: Axworthy, p. 114

5: Axworthy, p. 163

4 thoughts on “Iran’s Revolutions, Coup By US, and Hostage Taking

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.