General

Iran: Forty Years Since the Hostage Crisis and Nothing Has Changed

52 American citizens and diplomats were held hostage for a total of 444 days

Four decades ago, fifty-two American citizens and diplomats were held hostage for a total of 444 days by a group of Iranians claiming to be part of the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line.

Four decades on, we can see that not much has changed in Iran. The Iranian regime is still holding foreigners hostage. There are at least 17 dual nationals being held in Iran at the minute on the most ridiculous of charges. The claims that these dual nationals have been spying or committing crimes endangering national security are unfounded.

 Last month, the Iranian foreign ministry called on the United States government to release a number of Iranians that are currently incarcerated in the US.

Many of the families of the foreigners locked up in Iran took this occasion to call on Western governments to do more to secure the release of the foreigners being detained by the Iranian authorities. They highlighted the abuse and horrors that are being carried out and emphasized the criminal nature of the Iranian regime.

However, it must not be forgotten that the people of Iran are also subjected to much suffering under the regime too. For the past four decades, members of the opposition have been locked up, tortured – physically and psychologically, and mistreated. Many political prisoners have been killed too. 

In 1988, the Supreme Leader at that time issued a fatwa ordering the execution of all political prisoners. It was an attempt to wipe out the powerful opposition that was clearly a threat to the regime, even back then. Regime’s authorities executed more than 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI, Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK-Iran).

Instead of wiping out the political opposition, it made it stronger. There are now Resistance Units across the whole country working towards great change in Iran – freedom, peace, equality, democracy and the respect of human rights.

The opposition is more of a threat than ever and it is for this reason the Iranian regime is continuing to target the Resistance. The regime is on the verge of collapse and it knows that the people are going to be the force behind its eventual downfall.

Iran’s aggression towards its own people and dual nationals does not stop there. The Iranian regime is the number one state sponsor of terrorism and it has been spreading chaos across the region for years. It has been carrying out political assassinations and terror attacks, even most recently on European soil.

Albanian authorities confirmed during the past couple of weeks that regime officials – high-level ones – have been ordering attacks and surveillance on the opposition residing in Europe.

This is a major concern and, on the fortieth anniversary of the hostage crisis, it makes us wonder why the regime has been allowed to continue with its reign of terror for so long. It is time that the international community listens to the people of Iran who are risking everything to achieve freedom and peace.