ALGIERS – Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum recalled, on Wednesday, the role played by Algeria 40 years ago in the release of 52 American diplomats sequestered in Tehran.
“Forty years have passed since the signing of the Algiers agreement which allowed the release of 52 American diplomats sequestered in Tehran. It was the fruit of the laborious mediation of our country, led by the-then Shahid, Mohamed Seddik Benyahia, Minister of Foreign Affairs and a team of diplomats among Algeria’s best children, “Boukadoum said in a tweet.
The American hostage crisis in Iran lasted 444 days, between November 4, 1979 and January 20, 1981. Following a reported espionage, diplomats and civilian staff from the American Embassy in Tehran were kidnapped by an angry crowd.
During the morning of November 4, 1979, Iranian students broke into the headquarters of the American embassy, convinced that espionage activities were being carried out there. Iranian civilians, who took control of the embassy, subsequently exhibited classified documents and equipment proven to be used by US agents to send secret messages.
In exchange for the release of those kidnapped diplomats, the students demanded that the United States hand over Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, former Shah of Iran, overthrown by the Iranian revolution.
Algeria, represented by Mohamed Seddik Benyahia, was quick to intervene to resolve the crisis. The situation was unblocked after a few months after the intervention of the Algerian minister. On January 19, 1981, the Algiers Accord was signed. By virtue of this agreement, Washington undertakes to stop intervening in the internal affairs of Iran and to put an end to the freezing of Iranian assets in the United States.
The American hostages were freed the day after the agreement was signed, on January 20; 1981, the day of the inauguration of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.