December 3, 1979: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini Becomes Leader of Iran
On this day in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was made Supreme Leader of Iran during the midst of a hostage crisis with the United States. A month earlier, over 60 Americans were held hostage by a group of Iranian students after storming the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The remaining 52 hostages were released in January 1981 after 444 days of captivity.
Read FRONTLINE’s “The Hostage Crisis, 30 Years On” article for a timeline of events and more details.
Photo: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (PBS.org)
The official birthdate of our darkest period.