(November 4, 2019 / JNS) The Trump administration commemorated the 40th anniversary of Iranian taking over the U.S. embassy in Iran on Nov. 4, 1979, and keeping 52 U.S. diplomats and citizens hostage for a total of 444 days.
“Today, we honor the victims of this brazen act. The Iranian regime continues to target innocent civilians for use as pawns in its failed foreign relations,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham in a statement on Monday. “Until Iran changes this and its other hostile behavior, we will continue to impose crippling sanctions.”
Since the United States withdrew in May 2018 from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the administration has enacted a “maximum pressure” campaign that has included reimposing sanctions lifted under the agreement and enacting new financial penalties against Tehran.
“The Iranian regime has a choice. Instead of being the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, it can put the Iranian people first. It can choose peace over hostage-taking, assassinations, sabotage, maritime hijacking and attacks on global oil markets,” continued Grisham. “The United States seeks peace, and we support the Iranian people. It is time for the Iranian regime to do the same.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to speak on Monday at a closed-to-press event at the State Department about the anniversary.
The department said in a statement on Friday that the “event commemorates the bravery that all former hostages and their families have shown during unimaginable circumstances.”
“We look forward to the day when we can again safely send U.S. diplomats to Tehran. It’s unfortunate that this anniversary serves as a reminder of the long history of malign behavior by the Iranian regime and the danger it has posed to the United States and the world over the past 40 years,” said the department. “The United States government continues to call on the Iranian regime to release all missing and currently detained U.S. citizens, including Robert Levinson, Siamak Namazi, Xiyue Wang and others.”
The hostage crisis ended on Jan. 20, 1981, when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as president of the United States. No hostages were killed.
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