On November 4, 1979, the US embassy in Iran was overtaken by Iranian students supportive of the Iranian Revolution. Over 50 American citizens were taken hostage. The whole of the United States, and indeed the world, looked on, fearing how the situation would end, given the instability in the country since the abdication of the shah and the subsequent return of the one-time exiled Ayatollah Khomeini over ten months earlier.
By the end of 1980, things were looking more promising, and shortly after the newly elected US president, Ronald Reagan, had taken the oath of office in Washington, DC, on January 20, 1981, news came of the hostages’ release. Everyone was initially overjoyed, but as scandals began to hit Reagan’s double term in the White House, the common “root” factor in a number of them was Iran.
During the 1980 election campaign, Ronald Reagan’s running mate and eventual vice president, George H.W. Bush, made the remark of requiring an “October surprise” in order to turn momentum in their favor. In American political jargon, an October surprise is often associated with some predetermined action or release of information.
At the time, the comment was largely ignored as typical political banter, but as the years went by, and continued conspiracies found their way back to the Reagan administration, the remark was repeatedly cited as being quite telling of actual intentions and what was going on behind the scenes and away from the constant glare of the media and, in turn, the American people.
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So, to answer the question as to whether there is any truth to the allegation that the Reagan/Bush camp really did have an October surprise up their collective sleeves, many looked to the hostage situation in Iran.
9 Delayed Release?
The main thrust behind the Iranian hostage crisis conspiracy theory is that it was in the interest of Reagan for the hostages to be released after the election.Should Carter have managed to secure their release earlier, many have theorized it could have given him the last push of momentum he needed to secure a second term in office. With 52 American lives still hanging in the balance when it came time to go to the polls in November 1980, many were perhaps swayed toward Reagan.
According to later investigations by author and researcher Danny Casolaro (who we will look at a little later), Bush ordered Reagan’s campaign manager, William Casey, to discreetly travel to Europe to meet with Iranian officials and arrange a deal whereby the hostages would not be released until after the election, specifically not until Reagan had been sworn in at the inauguration.
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8 Arms To Iran
In 1985, the US government agreed to sell missiles to Iran in exchange for the safe release of hostages held by Khomeini-loyal Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.
There are a number of things to look at here. It is interesting that it was a sale of the arms to Iran, given that it would make sense, from the Iranian point of view, to insist on being given armaments for the return of the hostages. Of course, some believe that the brokered deal was set up all along and gave the US government a reason to go ahead and sell the arms (and make a substantial amount of money doing so).
So what happened to all the money from the alleged sales? Well, that is our next entry on our list.