The Herald, November 22, 1979
TEHERAN. – Militant Muslim students occupying the American embassy here said last night they would kill all of their hostages and blow up the building if the United States took military action against Iran.
In a statement broadcast on the official Voice of the Islamic Revolution radio station, the students made explicit reference to a US Navy task force in the Indian Ocean.
“Based on the information available,” the students said, “the largest American naval warships in the Indian Ocean have begun sailing towards the Gulf. . . and intend to attack Iranian soil. “
A student leader from the embassy said on the phone: “We will kill every single hostage the moment the first American soldier sets foot on Iranian soil,” reports Iana-Reuter.
The radio statement reads: “We are strongly warning the US that we will kill all hostages on the spot if we feel that the American threats are becoming real.”
It added that all American citizens are in Iran – from western diplomats to around 300. estimated – captured and the embassy blown up if the US attacked.
“Precautions have been taken to immediately destroy all hostages and the embassy in which they live.”
The statement followed a warning from President Carter that he might order military action if the hostages held here since November 4th were not released unscathed.
Within an hour of warning the president of his first public mention of the possibility of resolving the Iran-US conflict by force, the Pentagon said a naval task force from the Philippines was on its way to join US warships in the Indian Ocean .
Last night’s testimony from the students was the first to set out what would happen to the hostages if the US used force.
There was no doubt that the students would carry out their threat.
“I’m a student like the one inside,” said a young Iranian in front of the large black iron gate of the compound. I won’t hesitate for a second to kill these hostages. I’m also not afraid of dying if we have to fight the Americans. “
The students enjoy the support of the Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who said: “American military-economic threats. . . have a hollow ring ”.
The student declaration came on the evening of the day the largest anti-American demonstrations took place in the Iranian capital. More than a million people crowded the area in front of the embassy, shouting, “Death to Carter, death to the Shah.”
The United States later issued a new, urgent warning about the safety of American hostages in Tehran as anti-American violence spread across Pakistan.
A President’s spokesman, Mr Jody Powell, said serious attention should be paid to the White House statement, which for the first time raised the possibility of military action against Iran if the hostages were injured or tried as alleged spies.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
- Forty-two years later, the critical issues between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States remain unsolved, considering that the United States views certain parts of the Middle East as strategic to its global interests. There are still counter-allegations between the two parties.
- The United States and members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have always believed that Iran is on the verge of building an atomic bomb. This led to the P5 + 1 talks in Geneva. P5 + 1 stands for the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, Great Britain, USA and Germany).
- It is a group of six world powers that joined forces in diplomatic efforts with Iran in 2006 over its nuclear program.
- Much progress had been made by the time President Donald Trump was elected, who refused to recognize the deal. “In 2018, the US left what is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and then returned the sanctions that the deal had lifted.”