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Not Clear Why Ayatollah Liked Reagan

Reader comment on item: Reagan's Early Victory in the War on Terror

Submitted by Warren (United States), Jun 15, 2004 at 18:06

At the time, it was not at all clear why the hostages were freed. Jimmy Carter was a publicly identified as a Christian whereas Ronald Reagan was less religious, and that might have tilted the balance toward Reagan.

The "Students" who took the hostages did so for unknown reasons and let them go for equally unknown reasons. They might have been afraid of Reagan or they might have liked him better than Carter.

The later arms-for-hostages deal with Iran leads me to suspect that Reagan made a deal, rather than a threat, to the Iranians. But there's no proof either way. If Reagan bought the hostages with some policy or asset we don't know what it is.

During the hostage crisis, the Iranian government never openly supported the hostage-taking, but said that they were unable to free them without causing their deaths. It's entirely possible that the timing of the release on the day of Reagans inauguration was a coincidence, and happened to be the time when the Iranian government finally got some control over the hostage-takers.
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