One of 60 U.S. hostages, blindfolded and with his hands bound, is displayed to the crowd outside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by Iranian captors on Nov. 9, 1979. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The story in The Washington Post in 1979. ( / )

Nov. 4, 1979 Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 66 people hostage, “including diplomatic staff, Marine guards and local Iranian [employees] in an assault that appears to have left the government temporarily paralyzed,” according to an account by The Washington Post’s Nicholas Cumming-Bruce. That set off a protracted crisis that would last through the end of Jimmy Carter’s first and only term as president, and into the first day of the Reagan administration. The Iranian government, led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, said it would release the hostages if the United States agreed to extradite the deposed shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. But the United States refused. A week and a half later, Khomeini ordered the release of female and African American hostages, leaving 53. In April 1980, eight U.S. soldiers died in a failed rescue attempt when a helicopter collided with a transport plane. A hostage was later released due to illness. In January 1981, the United States and Iran finally reached an agreement to free the remaining 52. By the time Iranians let them go, the hostages had spent 444 days in captivity. Thirty-six years after their capture, in December 2015, President Obama signed legislation to compensate each of the surviving 37 former hostages or the estates of 16 others who had died since their release, up to $4.4 million.

Annys Shin