tv Iran Hostage Crisis 40th Anniversary CSPAN November 30, 2019 5:00pm-6:01pm EST
captive and another time hostage able to escape in a cia mission talked about their experiences during the iran hostage crisis. council on global affairs hosted this event. good evening and welcome. welcome to our program. today's event is on the record and we are live streaming. please silence your phones. before this evenings program, we
heard talks. on opinions and behaviors. he holds degrees from syracuse university and the university of maryland. unfortunately, another professor is unable to join us tonight. now please join me in welcoming our guest. [applause] i appreciate the chance to be here. hello, chicago. it is my first time here. i am presenting to you a survey.
the title being a rainy and public opinion for decades after the hostage crisis. that is one of our call centers in toronto. in the last presidential election in iran in 2017, that then president was selected. a poll was able to predict the results of the election. the economist published it one day before the election. our prediction was accurate within two percentage points.
we did something that could be reliably used. the polling i am presenting today is used by the exact same methodology. a rainy and say the economy is bad. and it is getting worse. they blamed their own government more than they blame the united states for sanctions. 55% of irradiance blamed the domestic economy. 38% flame foreign sanctions and pressures.
that does not mean that irradiance are not feeling the sanctions. when we ask how much of an negative these sanctions have, we get 76% of irradiance saying it is having a negative effect. it is having a lot of a negative effect. despite these poor economic people are the arena not ready to give in from the administration's demands. we said, suppose that the united ontes was proposed a deal which most u.s. sanctions on iran would be lifted and iran would be able to have a peaceful nuclear energy program.
this is very similar to after the 7 -- 11th of september in the united states. irradiance believes they have the right to have a -- peaceful nuclear program. it is a simple full me once, shame on you, for me twice, shame on me. the powers did not hold up their part of the bargain. we have been asking about the popularity of the nuclear agreement with iran. 76% of iranians used to support it. now is this down to 42%.
thinking about how the jcpoa has worked out so far. worthwhileat it is if you want to make concessions. it shows that is not worthwhile for iran to make concessions. you get 72% of irradiance saying it is not worthwhile to make concessions. i want to end with good news. the irradiance are really not supported -- supportive of a nuclear program. 66% of a rainy and say the development of nuclear power --
>> thank you very much. it is now my distinct honor to welcome our panelists. adjunct former professor. she sent -- spent 27 years in the diplomatic service of the united states. in 1979, she was serving as the director of the iran-american society. she is in artist whose work has been acquired by american and foreign embassies and museums around the world. she was serving as a visa clerk in tehran. she is one of six americans who the taken out of iran with help of the central intelligence agency and the canadian government. please welcome our panelists.
[applause] i would like to set the stage. in 1970 nine, what was the political climate like in iran when you arrive to their? >> there were curfews. we were limited in terms of where we could go. my question was, what does an islamic republic look like? that was the reason i was there. that was the stated goal of the revolution. people were unsure. everyone was treading lightly. to haveho were known been workers for the shah lived in fear. there were people yanked out of their jobs because of their loyalties. some were tried and executed. it was a very tenuous situation
when i first arrived in july. we were working very carefully to see what we could do and what we could not. i was the director of the iran-americans side he. i met with the italian cultural ,ociety, the chairman cultural and we talked about what we could and could not do. everyone was walking very carefully. that is what i remember the most. we arrived two months before the takeover. close waitingy i went on to work. this was a new adventure for us. see a famous to country.
her memories are more clear than mine. this monday was the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the embassy. what were your experiences on that day and subsequent days? we were about three kilometers from the embassy. we had our own building. this was a very strong structure. it had been going well for many years. the board of the society was iranian and american. but weenglish lessons also had parsley lessons. -- farsi lessons.
, in the middle of a board meeting, my secretary you into the room and said, better take this phone call. there was a major demonstration going on at the embassy. two of my staffers went down to the embassy to see if they could tell what was going on. that thisvery clear was not going to go away. the story goes on from there. it was aggressive from the very beginning. was the foreign ministry would do what they had done at eight earlier demonstration.
made youryou have point, you have demonstrated, , these areembassy diplomatic grounds, let's be on our way. that did not happen obviously. we were closed. the visa section was closed. there had been lots of graffiti done with down with america and death to carter written on the walls of the embassy that weekend. i went over and i thought this was a good chance to get my diplomatic id card. i walked across the compound and turned in my passport. i was not going anywhere without that. the ladies in that office were very nervous. the day ofoday is the martyrs. i went back across the compound
and told my husband he should go over there because those ladies were in a bad mood. he should get his id card as well. but if he had gone he would have been there at the time of the takeover. luckily he did not listen to me. we both ended up in the consulate. people had sticks and bats. some people thought they could talk the students out of staying on the compound and leaving.
there was one other spouse there. washington had thought they would be bringing back adult dependence. we thought they would send us home. because we cannot issue visas anyway. go?far would you like me to did you ever anticipate that something as dramatic as the actual caesar -- seizure of the embassy was possible? given the history of the united states and the embassies around the world, my fear was there would be some kind of retaliatory act.
thought we would probably all be told to pack one bag and get out of the country. that year, there had been a serious demonstration. one of our ambassadors was killed in afghanistan. memories in my mind of other takeovers. i was very prepared to pack a suitcase and leave. but i was not prepared to sit for 14 months. i think we had a town hall meeting. it must have been the weekend before that. wasere told that the shah going to be allowed to enter the u.s. for medical treatment.
thoughts ran the gamut from nothing will happen to maybe they will try to attack the embassy. none of us knew what would happen. we were hoping we would at most have to leave. many people in the room might be familiar with the hollywood movie argo.what they get right and where did they take some creative liberties? [laughter] there we were up on the second floor. thinking we smelled smoke. and we should leave. various people left in groups. we looked outside the door where the visa applicants could come
in without having to enter onto the main compound. that was a little alley off of the side. that was a separate entrance that only we had. there was no one there. we realized the coast was clear. we left in small groups. there were about 12 or 13 of us americans. we split into smaller groups. we all went out with our group. we stepped -- it started to rain. we put up umbrellas. everybody was concerned about the rain and not us.
as we were walking that way, we saw a large mob, another group of people coming from that direction. said we were going home with one of our coworkers. we separated a little bit more and walked to his house. we could hear voices, the americans talking back and forth and trying to figure out what to do. people talking about the vault, where the classified information was met. -- cap. farsiy we only heard speakers. so we knew everyone had been captured. we were still doing all right. my staff had gone out.
i called the embassy and got from the switchboard, embassy occupied. i remember die had a direct extension. someone to get a hold of the guys in the communication center. find out what is going on from them. i called again using this extension. they were shredding materials. they say call state. my staff, some of my staff were helping me do this.
god bless them. they were taking a chance. they were monitoring would have been said. taking notes and transcribing it. we were feeding that back to washington. also linking to the communication center. that is when the vault was breached. they were taken over by the farsi people. we were trying to figure out what was going on and reporting back. another person, had shown up. she had been at the airport that
morning and was supposed to be going home. she came back and she was there. she was helping us. i said we can sleep. we stretched out on the sofas. they got on the phone with washington. i think they went to my house. >> we went to the other house. we did eventually go to your house. >> they had the car. we were there. , someone else came. i went over to the german institute. they say, why don't you go home with us? i say, this is got to simmer down. they say, do you think it is safe to get back to the phone? i say, i hope so.
a friend was with me. he was working right beside us. the second time they came for us, we did not get away. we were taken to the embassy compound and kept with the rest of them. thanks to being able to talk on the phone, this was the most peculiar situation. diplomatsal iranian were not in on the takeover. they were appalled. they knew this was not how you run an international affairs office. my husband was talking to our number two. they were in the ballroom. they had gone over to complain about the graffiti on the wall. they were trying to sort this out.
we were able to talk to them. we called the embassy and talk to one of the hostage takers. we all spoke to washington. we had a number that we could call. after you woke up and loaned us your car, i called my mother. i said it is all going to be ok. i did not talk to her for three months. i said i have friends at the british embassy, they will come and get you. we can go spend the night at their compound. but that knife their compound was attacked as well. they say, we cannot protect you. you will have to leave.
>> he was really good. if you ever get to boston. [laughter] the brits gave us the ride over to someone's house. we stayed two nights there. regular housekeeper was worried that we were eating the food and drinking in the wind and she was going to get an oval. she was going to turn sn. we thought about tying her up, but we thought no. [laughter] then we went to another house. we snuck away in the night. we always had her close in the washing machine. there was no wall.
just you on the street. then we were feeling really exposed. we knew they would eventually find a housing list where all the americans lived. we were running out of money. a man who had been there for months called his good friend, who was the consul general at the canadian embassy. he said, we are really in trouble now. he say, why did you not call sooner? yes, we will take you all in. this was after about five days. thatrits profess over to house and we were in the safety net of the canadian. >> tell us more about that. the canadian government played an integral role in your extrication. what did the canadian government do? >> they were absolutely amazing.
the rest of us knew none of the canadians. they took us in. there were five of us. the ambassador came over and say, i will take to so you do not have such a big load. such a burden. my husband and i do not play bridge. we went with him so the others could play bridge. we spent the next three months on their couch. we could not leave the house. we could call anyone. we could just set there and read the paper and have our hopes filled up and drawn down by the news. every night the ambassador and home andwould come give us any news they have.
encourage us and be so kind. visit with the others at thanksgiving. we were kind of hopeful at that point. we were at a good point in the negotiations. at christmas we were still there. we went over to that house again to see our friends. it was pretty bleak. every time they tried to negotiate with someone in the iranian government, they would disappear. they would lose their position and we would have to start all over again. is, therehe story secretary of state for canada button hold cyrus at a meeting in europe and said you have to get those people. you have to get those people out of my house. we will put them on flights. this was december.
, the cia officer who , wasbsolutely brilliant given the assignment of getting as out. he sold us the idea of this hollywood movie crew. had the right number of people. they had friends in hollywood. they really opened a studio in hollywood. they put notices and "variety" magazine. he came out in three days and gave us choices and made it quite obvious this was the choice we should choose. we had to have a suitcase. we went to the airport and that was that. >> can you tell us about your time as a hostage -- [applause] >> thank you.
can you tell us about your time as a hostage, can you tell us about that particular part of the experience? difficult tos cause it encapsulates such a long time. i'm a farmer's daughter. you've got to make it work. i am a cradle lutheran. i was taken to church when i was born to be baptist -- baptized and i come from a family of faith. i met a couple marines at bruce laying a couple weeks ago and me,of the marine said to kate, why did you never say you were in solitary? you kept saying i was alone.
i did not -- my mind did not work in those designations. my mind worked -- my god, i have been given an incredible gift of time. no appointments, no meetings, no plans. what can i do with that? i have always been fascinated, ever since i first visited austria about the contemplative orders of the roman catholic church. my mother said she did not think i would ever talk. then after 18 months she said, i did not think i would ever shut you up. i was in a situation were i was told constantly -- where i was told constantly don't speak, don't speak you're using what i , i thought, ok, i can explore this contemplative time, so that is where i started from. it was frightening because you
didn't know what was going on. it was frightening as you did not know what was happening to your colleagues. it was miserable because you did not know what was happening to and worried about your family worrying about you. through a moving series of rooms all by myself from november 22, which is when an left, she went in and i was in the other room and told not to speak and i don't was the 22nd because it was my sister's birthday. and it was march before she convinced them she needed to a roommate and we became roommates again. you did not know what was going be whether you are going to
question, whether you were going to be challenged, whether you were going to be left completely alone. , i was in athe time library,om that was a the embassy library, so i did have things to read. i loved to read almost as much as i loved to talk. about caves, book a book about the bell telephone and there was an illustrated mba textbook i got started on. for me.d other material it was a strange combination of what next and, is anything going on, or are we just sitting here i don't know how to describe things differently. the one thing that one could not
, one could not love were the demonstrations at night. the chants of "death to carter," theath to noise around the embassy compound and that went on from the first days until we left almost. actually, we moved into prison and another place, but as long as we were on the compound, we could almost always count on demonstrations, at least on friday and saturday night. stafford, what happened when you got to the airport in how did it feel to return home to the united states? were veryrd: they clever about when we would leave. we left first thing in the morning. it was a 7:00 flight or so. that meant the revolutionary guards were not there yet. quiet.was sort of we were worried about some of
these little slips we were would have have that been in their file someplace and we were worried about that, but we weren't stopped. we got through immigration. we thought we were home free, and it turned out our flight was delayed. we thought, why was our flight delayed? we talked to tony and he said it will look even more suspicious if we tried to get on another flight, so they said just sit tight. the flight came in in about an hour. we got on the flight. we did not have -- i'm sorry. so, when we finally were on the knew, we felt good, but we it was not over yet. we had to wait until they said " we are now out of iranian airspace."
when i saw that in the movie, i felt the same relief. they got away! when you were still hostages, i on theave dreams i was plane and you were on the plane, but you would not talk to me. when the hostages were freed, they brought us back. sidewas a point for our and then i did not have these dreams anymore. ms. koob: good. i'm glad. [laughter] young womene of the who was one of our guards left something on her desk. i was curious. there was something about eight americans having gotten home. sent --that, they also 13 women and five men, five african-americans home and that
was very interesting. why did they send african-americans home? americans, are -- it ispressed well-known, are highly oppressed -- except for the one that they kept because they thought he could but the computer back together. ok. we have our fun. the black american community would rise up in solidarity with them against our government. that's what one of the young women explained to me. she had never met an african-american or an african because one day she came into -- well, we were in offices. we were held in offices in the embassy, she came into the room and she said, "i like what people." -- "i like what people." i said, oh? said, "yes, the really nice.
i just met some. we have some here from africa. they are really, really nice." i blackyes, i like some americans. they are nice. there are some that are not so nice. they are just like people, good and bad. she had never had that experience. a lot of what they were thinking and working was outside the realm of their personal experience. that made for some very interesting conversations sometimes when you're trying to figure out what is going on. but that is what diplomacy is all about. discovery. that is when it gets exciting. when you can discover something. >> how did you find out you were coming home and what did it feel like to get to the u.s.? nn and i were at a room in the guesthouse.
something was afoot. we did not know what. the risk of a group of algerian medical doctors there and they were giving us exams, which was sort of weird. so many stories. and then they said, well, get your stuff together. you are going home. movedold us before -- we 13 times during the 14 months. they would say, get your stuff, you're moving. but they never said going home. i were really very skeptical. we had our getaway bags. we said, we are ready. let's go. for said, we will be back you a little bit later. then they took us out of the building and put us on the loss. for first -- for the first time we were put on a bus with the men. we had always been moved separately. we got to the airport and i
thought we might really be going home when we got to the airport and there were two algerian weres on the ground and we moving into one and before we could even ask the question, yes, everybody is here, and yes, nobody is seriously harmed physically, as we found out later, a lot of people carried very deep emotional scars with them. we were on the plane. actually i said, did anybody lose a watch? a seiko. we found it. they brought a something so we could know what time it was for whatever reason. it belonged to one of the military attachés. [laughter] to questionspen up from the audience, one final question. how did your experience ship your impression -- shape your
impression of the country of iran and its people? is what ird: iran thought it was before i got there. it is a country of very proud people old who have a right to be proud of their long history, the poetry, or literature, their music, their arts, in so many things they instigated, even -- they are the ones who were responsible for diplomatic immunity. this is a country that is complex and has a lot of different polls in many different ways and they had a big job just to be able to recognize each other and move with each other, and they all want the same things we want. they want education for the kids. they want a nice house. they want a good job and plenty
of food and people taking care of when they are ill. that. want now let's figure out how to get it done, people. >> thank you. ms. stafford: that's beautiful. [laughter] >> as a reminder to our live steam -- livestream audience, you can ask questions by typing into your browser. make sure that your question is a question. yes, sir. in the third row, please. a microphone is on its way. change whenour life the aborted rescue mission failed in the desert? what did they do? did not know it had happened. we knew that something had gone on because there is an unusual amount of gunfire around the embassy. we did not know whether he was more iraqis or what because that was always in the brush. point, moved and at some
a couple days later, one of the youcame to me and said, cook, don't you? i said, yes. cooksaid, we need you to for you and miss swift and some of the men. how many of my cooking for? i can't tell you. i said, i need to know. pet's just say it will be 445 all. ." that or five people was our first indication some of her colleagues had been moved off the compound. that we did not know that. all of a sudden there was a need for me to cook for us and to our three other people. we got a letter that i am pretty sure i was not supposed to get because they did give us some of the letters that were mailed to us by schoolchildren and people we did not know you're it of course, anybody we
knew -- i did get some letters from my sister, but -- said, i'm sorry the rescue attempt failed. i hope they try again. and i looked at each other and said, i was this figuring? then they gave us a back issue of "newsweek," i think it was, but these stories about iran and were torn out.es they forgot the table of contents and the letters to the editor. it was a feast. [laughter] but that's also how we learned eight men died trying to rescue us. that was not a feast. that was stunning. andlutely stunning and ann i never did come up with another word that you describe how we felt when we learned that. just stunned. >> yes. in the second to last row.
in the events leading up to the takeover politically, when left, did you feel that foreign policy let you down in shah, or washe the revolution unstoppable? we knew the: revolution was there to stay. it was not going to go away. shah's shah -- the leaving to go into the united states was, i think caffe has already pointed out, was a real -- kathy has already pointed decision point. some conversations
with vice president mondale and other people, there was a discussion as to whether this fiveood policy or not and resigned because he so strongly disagreed with it. foras not an easy decision president carter to make, but i --nk he did what he thought given the person that president carter is, of such integrity and humanity, that he really saw this as a humanity issue. >> thank you. for ourtional note livestream audience. there is another link. you can type in your questions. thank you. second row. >> first off, thank you for your incredible service encourage --
and coverage. i understand that both of you after returning home in did up going back out, going into the foreign service, going nuclear, -- new places. can you talk about what that like?on process was >> we thought we checked the box and he could not possibly happen again. [laughter] >> of course, i was evacuated from the ivory coast and i was evacuated from sudan. then i moved to niger. it's a fascinating life. my husband loves what he does.
i'm a painter. everywhere i go i have new things to paint and new subject matter. we think it is important work, so we keep going out. next job very carefully. i left washington. called theething foreign press country in new york city and we work with visiting foreign correspondents. that was an opportunity to feel out what was going to happen and whether this was something i wanted to continue with, what other options were out there. i found i liked what i was doing and i like to the possibilities .f what i could do in addition, more education and cultural exchange work, which i think is so vital to all of our
interest, worldwide. >> yes, sir. microphone is on its way. thank you so much. i just want to say, thank you for sharing. you presented it to us as if it happened yesterday. it's a really great memory. my question to both of you. have you had a chance to go back and visit places where you have then in iran? ms. stafford: i think my family would time he up and lock me in a room if a thought i was even getting close to the place. i would not want to put anyone an upward position, number one. number two, i have amazing iranian friends in the united states. i enjoy knowing them and not andying about their safety my safety and can still have our conversations. -- wouldke to go back
i like to go back? nein. i lived in german-speaking countries for eight years. that is yes and no all at once. to koob: i would be afraid go back. unfortunately, iran keeps taking innocent citizens and using them as hostages to exchange. i think there are a number of people in that position who have and will bebbed used for political points. i would love to go back. it was absolutely the most beautiful country and they're so much of it i have not seen, but i am not going to take that chance. >> yes, sir, in the back please. midway back. about your chama there. i've a question. given that thousands of americans have been killed by
japanese, germans, koreans, we still managed to have very good relations with them after so many years. we have a great economy with the japanese, germans, everybody. a somehow we have psychological block with iran. we can't seem to get over it. can you explain that? >> i think they can't get over either. they have been scarred or haunted by our interference in their election. they believe we are not , and recent events, they feel we do not keep our have and we will always iran. that was the beginning of our first confrontation with militant islam. we have this shadow over everything. i think any kind of thinking we back of always in the
our minds, can we trust them? a .on't follow international law even though we knew that the withwas terminally ill cancer and is coming to the united states was a last ditch iraniansr him, the were absolutely convinced it was a ploy to put him back in power. i think you said it right, kathy. there is a long history we have to work out bit by bit, piece by piece. i would like to ask you if you could tell us a little bit about where your lives have taken you since you left iran? shortecided that life is and fragile and i should be painting because that's my passion. that is what i have been doing for the last 35 years.
i have exhibitions with local painters. i work with the school for the deaf. er where classes in nig they have little access to anything at all. sign't say anything in language, but i'm learning. >> on that and it, we will have a slight -- a slideshow of ms. stafford's work this evening. [applause] forkoob: i went to munich four years, back to australia, which was one of my aims when i went in. retired from the foreign service to do adjunct work for my alma mater. started at waverley college. surprise, surprise, teaching theater.
that was my masters. howl in theater do you into doing work with the foreign service? you do a cultural exchange. i feel so strongly we have to seek to find those points where we can find agreement and build a new and better world. hate does not produce anything of really fine quality. it destroys us and tears us and it destroys us each and every day. back to my lutheran roots. love your enemies. not easy, but god's grace is sufficient for most of that. need to betrongly we able to help people reconcile what has happened in their lives to move forward and not let that
keep them bought the town forever. that is where it has taken me. [applause] >> it's wonderful to end on that optimistic note. thank you for sharing your experiences. thank you for your service. and thank you for being our speakers tonight. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> watch american history tv all week on c-span3 and features this weekend. sunday on oral histories, from the richard nixon presidential
library, hillary rodham clinton and william weld as their experience during the impeachment inquiry of richard nixon. mrs. clinton: it does fall to you in the house to examine abuses of power by the president. be as circumspect and careful as john doerr was. restrain yourself from grandstanding and holding news conferences and playing to your base. this goes way beyond whose side they are on or who is on your side. >> explore our nations passed every weekend on c-span3. i want to tell you, i hang my head in shame at the industry
and what i would say are very unfair, personalized reporting all of these fellows, and i think that you ought to know that opinion because you're going to be disappointed in me down the road if i did not tell you that. i'm just telling you frankly your industry is wrecking all of us. >> that's pretty heavy-handed. you can imagine what that was like for the journalist the next day. on the subject of wrecking the country, very disturbing, very disturbing, and we are hearing that today. the press is the enemy of the american people, according to president trump. you know, the press is not the enemy of the american people. the press is out there doing work for the american people. patty rhule 8 p.m.,
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p.m.p.m. eastern, 6 pacific, more from the national in kansasi memorial city, missouri. professor nathan would looks at the state of eastern european countries in the aftermath of world war i war and following the collapse of the austro-hungarian and russian empires. that is what is coming up on american history tv. hello, everybody. thank you for coming out today. my name is rachel moses. i am the site manager here at museum.d hospital we are operated by the national museum of civil war medicine. this is a pay what you please presentation. at the end you will have an opportunity to leave a donation. i will place it on the table. all donations to hehe