The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic standoff between the United States and Iran. Fifty-two American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, after a group of Iranian college students belonging to the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line, who supported the Iranian Revolution, took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
The crisis reached a climax after diplomatic negotiations failed to win the release of the hostages. U.S. President Jimmy Carter authorized Operation Eagle Claw, an attempted rescue mission, on April 24, 1980. It proved to be a disaster, resulting in the death of one Iranian civilian, and the accidental deaths of eight American servicemen after one of the helicopters crashed into a transport aircraft. In September 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, beginning the Iran-Iraq War. In response, the Iranian government entered into negotiations with the U.S., with Algeria acting as a mediator.
Political analysts cited the standoff as a major factor in the continuing downfall of Carter's presidency and his landslide loss in the 1980 presidential election; the hostages were formally released into United States custody the day after the signing of the Algiers Accords, just minutes after U.S. President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.
Iran Hostage Crisis in State of Jefferson
Because Gordon was a sasquatch, a species unknown outside North America, the Iranians initially treated him differently from the rest of the American diplomats. Some wanted to kill him immediately. Gordon kept the fact that he spoke Farsi secret, using English to explain his status as a U.S. diplomat. The Iranians opted not to kill him, but did keep him separate from the other hostages. The Iranians soon connected sasquatches to yetis, many of whom had taken refuge in Iran after the People's Republic of China annexed Tibet in 1959. Gordon explained that the two species were similar, but not the same. He also explained that he was a Christian, not a Buddhist, and so was entitled to good treatment as a Person of the Book. The Iranians grudgingly allowed Gordon to rejoin the other hostages.
When the U.S. effort to rescue the hostages failed, the hostage-takers sent Gordon and some other Americans to a jail. Gordon and his colleagues kept his fluency in Farsi a secret. The Iranians spoke freely around him, and so he was able to share intelligence with the U.S. military when he was repatriated in January 1981.