On November 4th, 1979, Iranian students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took ninety of the embassy staff as hostages. Despite ongoing negotiations and a rescue attempt, the hostages were not freed until 444 days later. The Iranian Hostage Crisis furthered perception that the United States had lost the superpower status it held immediately following World War II and paved the way for long-term tension between the United States and the Middle East, especially Iran. The event triggered anger and debate in America, and Carter’s inability to negotiate the release led to his sound defeat in the 1980 election. Ultimately, the failure of diplomacy reflected poorly on the Carter administration, spurred anti-Iranian sentiment, and exposed the vulnerability of the United States.
"At stake were the lives of 52 precious human beings who had been imprisoned in Iran for 444 days–and almost 12 billion dollars of Iranian assets." -Jimmy Carter