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Our Man in Tehran : The True Story Behind the Secret Mission to Save Six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis & the Foreign Ambassador Who Worked w/the CIA to Bring Them Home
The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seemingly short-lived takeover evolved into a crisis that would see fifty four embassy personnel held hostage, most for 444 days. As Tehran exploded in a fury of revolution, six American diplomats secretly escaped. For three months, Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran--along with his wife and embassy staffers--concealed the Americans in their homes, always with the prospect that the revolutionary government of Ayatollah Khomeini would exact deadly consequences. The United States found itself handcuffed by a fractured, fundamentalist government it could not understand and had completely underestimated. With limited intelligence resources available on the ground and anti-American sentiment growing, President Carter turned to Taylor to work with the CIA in developing their exfiltration plans. Until now, the true story behind Taylor's involvement in the escape of the six diplomats and the Eagle Claw commando raid has remained classified.
In Our Man in Tehran, Robert Wright takes us back to a major historical flashpoint and unfolds a story of cloak-and-dagger intrigue that brings a new understanding of the strained relationship between the Unites States and Iran. With the world once again focused on these two countries, this book is the stuff of John le Carr? and Daniel Silva made real.
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January 11, 2011
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Excerpt from Our Man in Tehran by Robert Wright
Carter's reciprocal state visit to Iran occurred over New Year's Eve 1978, a one-night stop on a nine-day tour of the Middle East. The president's critics liked to say that he had a knack for bringing trouble down on himself, and on this occasion they were dead right. During a lavish banquet for the president, the shah introduced Carter by speaking of Americans' "high ideals of right and justice, moral beliefs in human values." Ignoring his advisers' suggestion that he respond with understatement, Carter answered with an equally obsequious speech. "Iran, because of the great leadership of the shah," said Carter, "is an island of stability in one of the more troubled parts of the world. This is a great tribute to you, your majesty, and to your leadership, and to the respect and admiration and love which your people give to you." Broadcast throughout Iran and around the world, the president's body language conveyed at least as much as his words. Speaking extemporaneously, his face intensely sincere, one hand in his suit-coat pocket, the president turned and faced the shah directly when he spoke of the love of the Iranian people. Coming from a man renowned for his monotonous speeches and his Southern Baptist reserve, it was unexpected, unscripted, and eartfelt. It was, in short, a bombshell. And in Iran it changed everything.