The Shah, the Ayatollah, and the President

Sophia Barney Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Paul Hanson Butler University
The conflict between the United States and Iran has now been going on for more than 40 years, and the things that have happened in those last four decades have shaped the way the countries look at each other. For the United States, these actions have lead the country to shape policy against Middle Eastern countries and go to war at the cost of many lives. For the country of Iran, western ideals and its leaders have become the enemy. While the two countries face odds with each other, many times, whether in the media or conversation, people tend to forget the events that sparked this tumultuous relationship. In the late fall of 1979, 52 US embassy workers were taken hostage and kept for 444 days within the walls of that building. They spent the whole year of 1980 trapped, eating the unthinkable and feeling as if they had been all but abandoned. However, the experiences of these 52 people are not the focus of this research, instead this will be used to help further dissect the interactions between three very influential leaders at this time. With the hostage situation being the very first interaction between the United States and militant Islam, it is necessary for the understanding of these three leaders. President Jimmy Carter, Shah Mohammad Pahlavi, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s multifaceted interactions and decisions have impacted the global relationships between Iran and many western countries. To understand the start of this, we must first understand these men. Analyzing several biographies and primary sources, this research will dive deeply into how these men interacted together to create a hostage situation.
Poster Presentation

When & Where

Irwin Library 3rd Floor