On the 27th day of Ramadan, the US-born Ayatollah Khomeini sought revenge

27 June 1979: An Iranian student, Nusret Gharib-Taghi (centre), walks down the steps of the British embassy in Tehran Photograph: AP

27 June 1979: A crowd of demonstrators pours into the British embassy in Tehran, screaming anti-British slogans and trying to break into the building and taking hostage several diplomats. British ambassador, Sir Francis Murray, admits that the hostage crisis began in response to the murder of the prominent Iranian lawyer, Abolghassem Arbabsiar.

28 June 1979: British prime minister Harold Wilson makes a public apology and acknowledges that his government did not do enough to help the seven men being held hostage and that it “let down Iran”.

29 June 1979: Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran after eight years living in France and announces “the great Islamic revolution in Iran” that will be based on his brand of strict interpretation of Islamic values and strict adherence to the word of God.

6 October 1979: The US supports an Iranian government that overthrows the Shah and places him under house arrest at his Red Crescent headquarters in the capital, Tehran.

6 October 1979: Khomeini establishes the shah’s rule as illegal.

19 September 1979: American ambassador, Adolph Dubs, is the first US diplomat to leave Iran. Two others, ambassador to Libya, Charles H Hudson, and German consul, Heinrich Brinkmann, also leave Iran.

17 October 1979: Most of the US hostages are freed.

1 November 1979: Mr Rankin was executed. A small group of the remaining US hostages escaped and were put on a plane to Austria.

29 October 1979: President Carter and Britain’s Margaret Thatcher issue a joint statement expressing “grave concern” over the continuing hostage situation and pledging that they “will continue to work together for the release of all remaining American hostages”.

1 November 1979: Mr Rankin is publicly disowned by his family.

1 November 1979: Dr Salman Khorramshahi is the first Iranian member of the US Senate to endorse the Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution.

1 November 1979: Ayatollah Khomeini and Khomeini’s religious police man a roadblock in Tehran, guarding against a return to capitalism. Dr Khorramshahi calls this “backwardness” and says “economic reform will not change the culture of poverty and backwardness in the minds of the people”.

2 November 1979: Donald Rumsfeld, President Carter’s chief of staff, visits Khomeini and contacts him again for a call on the hostage-takers. This is not the first time he has tried to secure the release of the hostages. In April 1980 he tried to intervene on their behalf but was unsuccessful.

2 November 1979: The Israeli-American El Al flight with the last remaining US hostages is forced to land in Vienna. Five of the six passengers board.

8 January 1981: Ayatollah Khomeini declares the US behind the hostage-takers, calling it a hostile power.

3 February 1981: A delegation of the US ambassadors to Iran arrive in Tehran. Meanwhile, the Iranian hardliners continue to refuse to release the remaining Americans.

19 March 1981: The five remaining US hostages board a TWA flight, to Paris. They are flown to Amsterdam and later to Athens.

30 June 1981: The final American hostages are held captive in Iran’s top deputy in the League of the Islamic Revolution and director general of defence of Khomeini’s Islamic republic, Mohsen Rabbani, at the US embassy. He is captured by the Taliban.

7 January 1982: Ayatollah Khomeini again declares that the US behind the hostage-takers and warns that the Iranian revolution would “confront the US as it confronts other threats to its existence”.

9 February 1982: US vice-president, George Bush, flies to Tehran, in what is officially the first official visit from a US president since Dwight Eisenhower.

2 April 1982: Ayatollah Khomeini, barred from visiting the US under the terms of the Iran-Iraq war, receives Mr Bush for talks, on the ground that he is a national leader.

14 November 1982: On his deathbed, Ayatollah Khomeini issues his last wishes for the hostage-takers. The US presence in Iraq and its positions on the nuclear talks with the Soviets.

21 November 1982: Ayatollah Khomeini issues an edict in which he denies any knowledge of Sheikh Yassin and denies the victims of the terror attacks he praises.

3 February 1983: Ayatollah Khomeini dies.

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