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Iranians seize American hostages

Student followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini send shock waves across America when they storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The radical Islamic fundamentalists took 90 hostages. The students were enraged that the deposed Shah had been allowed to enter the United States for medical treatment, and threatened to murder hostages if any rescue was attempted. Days later, Iran's provincial leader resigned and the Ayatollah took full control of the country--and the fate of the hostages. Two weeks after the storming of the embassy, the Ayatollah began to release all non-U.S. captives, and all female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the United States government. The remaining 52 captives remained at the mercy of the Ayatollah for the next 14 months. On January 20, 1981, the U.S. freed almost $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets and the remaining hostages were released.