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Exactly 40 years ago today, a group of Iranian militants seized 98 people at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran — marking the start of what is known as the Iran hostage crisis. While the hostages were released from captivity 444 days later, an unsuccessful, covert mission known as Eagle Claw to try to rescue the hostages months afterwards is what served as a catalyst for changing special operations forces.
The Iran hostage crisis began on Nov. 4, 1979 after Iranian protesters, outraged that the U.S. had allowed the deposed and pro-American Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to receive medical treatment in the U.S., stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking a total of 98 people hostage.
On January 21, 1981, just a few hours after Ronald Reagan delivered his inaugural address, the remaining hostages were released. They had been in captivity for 444 days.