Just a reminder that the unrest in the Middle East has been around forever…
On this day in 1979, hundreds of Iranian students storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 60 American hostages. The students, supporters of the conservative Muslim cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, were demanding the return of Iran’s deposed leader, the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi, who had fled to Egypt in January 1979 and by November was receiving cancer treatment in the United States. After the student takeover, President Jimmy Carter ordered a complete embargo of Iranian oil.
This embargo only exacerbated an energy crisis that had been going on since the beginning of 1979. An Iranian oil-field strike and the January revolution had disrupted oil supplies from that part of the Middle East, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel had announced a per-barrel fee increase that sent prices inching toward an all-time high. By the time the students took over the Embassy in November, Americans were already dealing with the effects of this crisis: long lines and short tempers at gas pumps, panics over gasoline and heating oil shortages, and frustration with the inefficient, gas-guzzling vehicles manufactured by American automakers.