Jimmy Carter's Failed Presidency Has Roots in 1953
Just as George W. Bush's legacy will be forever stained by the disastrous Iraq war, the Presidency of Jimmy Carter (D-GA) is inextricably associated with the traumatic, humiliating 444 day hostage crisis in Iran.
Had there been no hostage crisis, Carter may well have been re-elected, and his party may have stayed in power for many more years. In fact, the hostage crisis so consumed him that he refrained from campaigning for a second term, in order to focus on the return of those 52 American prisoners from the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Instead, Ronald Reagan seized the opportunity and became President for the next 8 years. His Vice President, George H.W. Bush, was elected President for one four year term, and Bush's son, George W. Bush, subsequently served as President from 2001-2008. In total, the 20 years of Reagan/Bush Republican rule may have never happened had it not been for the hostage crisis.
And the hostage crisis never would have happened had it not been for the atrocity of the 1953 CIA coup which overthrew Iran's democratically elected leader, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh.
As significant as that history is, relatively few people today—and even fewer in 1979—had ever even heard of the 1953 coup. It was scarcely mentioned by the media, and the White House certainly had no interest in raising the subject voluntarily.
Yet the subject did come up during a February 13, 1980 press conference broadcast live on TV at the height of the hostage crisis. In what was probably his only official comment on the subject as President, Jimmy Carter swatted away a reporter's question about the 1953 coup:
• To be more accurate, the coup was 26 ½ years old, not 30.
• It has been well over 30 years since the 1979 hostage crisis, yet the U.S. has never gotten over it ("ancient history"?).
• Those who do not heed the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.
Iran: How the Mess Came About — Post-Mortem on the Shah by Kermit Roosevelt
Barack Obama Becomes First U.S. President to Acknowledge 1953 Coup in Iran
Hillary Clinton: the United States Regrets the 1953 Coup in Iran
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”