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tv   Iran Hostage Crisis 40th Anniversary  CSPAN  December 23, 2019 11:13pm-12:12am EST

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director of diplomatic here at the seattle consulate in. so that programs for the 44 days what is out there he ran isis. today's event on the record and we are live stream. please silence your phones but we do a consulting medium engagement. the council with an independent and non partisan platforms. views expressed by the individuals we holes our their own and doesn't represent our views at the council. before
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this current -- where flash talks from the actor from the nation. he is the ceo and president of peoples -- his work focuses on the mystifying peoples behaviors and opinions and complex asylees and difficult contexts such as iran. he vastly strength to accuse school and pitched in policy states in the university of maryland college following the flash i will begin our panel discussion and knowledge it is our panelists at that time. unfortunately professor of the political section of the u.s. embassies unable to join us tonight. now please join me in welcoming --. i appreciate the chance to be here and hello to chicago. it's my first time here. thanks for being welcome thanks. my name is emir i'm going to you a survey there has been a joint between at the
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council on affairs. iranian public opinion for decades after the hostage crisis. -- the year mean in the company focusing on here anyone pulling. the confidence of people here. based in toronto and that's one of our call centers in toronto. boeing scientific opinion from iran have been hoping to be reliable, scientific and as an example in their last presidential election in iran in 2017, when president was selected, he was able to predict a lot of the election to, descendants the economist, they published it one day before the election and it whatever you to see. the petition was accurate within
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two percentage points out the official results. so he did something that could be but i will use the as depending on how toying of. the pulling out presenting today is used by the exact same methodology, it was conducted by telephone and it was conducted by october 2019, it's very fresh. going into iranian says that the economy is bad and getting worst. interesting levy they blame their own government more than they blame the united states or the sanctions. so 68% of iranian say the economic situation is bad, 54% say it's getting worse, now 55% of iranians blamed domestic mismanagement and corruption.
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only 38% blame foreign sanctions an pressures. as you can see this is a continuous trend. that does not however mean that iranians are not seeing the effect of sanctions. when we ask how much of a negative influence are the sanctions happening on the economic situation of your family week at 76% of iranians say that it has an effect on them, negative effect, 53% it is having a lot of negative effect on their family. despite these poor economic conditions, despite all the pressure, still iranian people are not ready to give in to current administration's demands. so we propose a scenario to that, in this scenario we told them suppose that the united states were to propose a deal whereby a most u.s. sanctions on iran it would be gradually lifted and iran would be able to have
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a peaceful nuclear energy program and return for agreeing to fully and giving up the right to enrich uranium on its soil and to always allow international inspections of its facilities. do you think you would agree or not and 73% of iranians said no we reject that deal. 53% strongly reject that deal, now why? two reasons, there is a classic rattling around the flag, that's something you can expect from any human society, when asking at the same survey, how proud are used to be iranians? 90% and that they are extremely proud or very proud to be iranian, so this is asking the
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same questions continuously since on the go and right now to give you a comparison in the united states and american people 47% extremely proud to be american, iranians or 68%. in fact this level of saying they are extremely proud it is similar to the length of september in the united states, when there is a real attack towards your country you have this affect, you rally, there is another point iranians really believe they have the right to have peaceful nuclear proof homes, 90%, so that helps as well. a second reason for why iranians are rejecting the deal that we put in front of them, it's the simple fool me once shame on, you fool me twice shame on me, it's the idea that if in jcpoa, if all powers did and help them who says they will keep it again, so we have been asking the popularity of jcpoa since 2015 continuously, 76% of iranians used to support it now that's down to 42%. we asked another questions from iranians
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thinking how the jcpoa has worked out so far, which he was closest yours? >> first of jcpoa spirit shows that it's worthwhile to make iran concessions because true compromise can negotiate mutual benefit decisions with all powers, or the experience shows that it is not worthwhile for iran to make concessions because iran he cannot have confidence that if it makes a concession with world powers they will honor the agreement. you get 72% of iranian saying it's not worthwhile to make concessions okay i want to end with good news. first good news iranians are not supportive of nuclear weapons program, when you asked them should iran develop nuclear weapons? we get 15% saying we should not. interesting leads 66% of iranian say that development of nuclear weapons is against the teaching of he's moms, well 17% is mom says does not prohibit
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development of nuclear weapons. injuriously only 18% and have an opinion anne. a very confident people about this. so last point iranians are not categorically against negotiations with the trump administration. when we gave them this option if the united states returns to the jcpoa, leaves all factions related to the nuclear program and is willing to talk that includes all the countries, would you support in such a situation, negotiations with the trump administration? we see 75% are supportive even talking with the core trumpet ministration. so the future does have some hope for, us thank you. (applause) thank you very much
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it's now my distinct honor to welcome our panelists tonight, kate cope is a former professor, she spent over 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 one of the 52 americans who spent 444 days as a hostage in iran after the seizure of the embassy in tehran. kathleen stafford is a writer whose work has been required and since 1979 she was serving in tehran when it was seized she is one of six americans who were expatriated from iran with the assistance of the central intelligence agency and the
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canadian government, thank you for being here, please join me in welcoming our panelists. (applause) thank you again for being here, i'd like to start setting the, stage in 1979 what was the political climate like when you arrived there? >> well 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 because this was the stated goal of the revolution to establish an islamic republic, people were on sure, everybody was treading lightly, people who were known to have been workers for the shot lived in fear, people lived in fear because there were people simply eating out of their jobs and because of their loyalty to the shaw were tried and often
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executed. so 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 couldn't, i was seen director of the iran american society but i met with the italian cultural society, german on director, we talked about what we thought we could and couldn't do it in our cultural centers. so everyone is watching very carefully, that is what i remember the most. >> we were their only two months before he turned over so arrived in september and we just moved into our apartment. i had the clothes hanging over the dining room chairs but that has a but she didn't come the day of the takeover. in fact she was your housekeeper. so i went on to work and we are all excited about this, we were
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gonna see this wonderful country that is famous for its culture and poetry. so we did a little short trips on the weekend, to go today caspian sea on. so kate's memory of what it was like before that are more clear than mine. >> well this monday was the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the u.s. embassy, can you tell us what the experiences were on november 4th 1979 and the subsequent days >> well here on american society was i think about three kilometers from the embassy, we had our own building, at this was a very strong structure and had been going well for many years, we worked together, the board of this society was both iranian and american, we had english
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lessons but we also had farsi lessons so the iranian reporter was working with us as we were trying to figure out what the italians in the french and the germans what we could do and where we could go, that morning we were having a board meeting and on the middle of the four meaning the secretary eva came in and said i think you better take this phone call, there was one of my board members saying there is a major demonstration going on at the embassy, you might want to check and see to make sure everything is okay at the society. as a matter of fact two of my staff members got out and went down to the embassy to see if they could see what was going on. we turned on the radio and television to see if anything was being carried on the local news, and it became very clear that this was not going to go away, so the story goes out from there but it was, it was aggressive from the very beginning. we hoped and my personal hope was that the foreign ministry would do what they had done at an earlier demonstration, i think that was
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in february, they basically said you major point, you demonstrated this is an embassy this is, these are diplomatic grounds now let's be on our way and we could settle down and see what was going on, that didn't happen obviously in. >> back at the ranch we were closed, the visas section was closed to protests, the fact that there had been on a lot of graffiti done, death to carter run on the walls of the obesity that weekend, so we are protesting, i went over and i thought this was a good chance to get my diplomatic id card. so i walked and turned in my passport which meant i wasn't going anywhere without that afterwards. so the ladies were very nervous and said why did
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you come to work today and i today always come to work, but today is the day of the murders so i went back across the compound and told my husband he should go over there because those ladies were in a bad mood and he should get his 18 car or two but if he had gone he would've been in the chancery of the time of the takeover. so luckily he did in look at me, we both ended up in the consulate and slammed all the doors when we saw that there was a mob outside and people had sticks in bats and all things like that. so after about two hours there were various activities that came and went, high original security officer walked across the compound and was trying to figure out what to do, try to talk to students to sting out of the compound and leaving. after a while we thought we smelled smoke, we were all upstairs on the second floor of the building cause it was safer. we thought we smelled
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smoke and so we thought that we are probably going to have to leave. so no one could make false visas, there are another spouse and couple and we were there at an exceptional basis, we were the only spouses there at post, the washington had thought they've been bringing back adult independents but after they saw how the state of the country and that it was unstable they were rethinking that. then in case they thought we were gonna send them home because we couldn't issue visas anyway, so, how far would you like me to go along? >> i think that's a good point. >> what about november 4th, did you anticipate something as dramatic of the seizure of the embassy was a possibility? >> well during our training period and talking about the history and what's going on and given the history of the united states and embassies all around the world my fear was that there would be some sort of retaliatory act on, i thought we would probably all been told
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to pack one back and get out of the country, that is the normal procedure, although that year there had been a very serious demonstration and one of our ambassadors i believe was killed in afghanistan earlier that year. there are memories in my mind of other takeovers, not embassies but americana diplomatic facilities. so i really who was prepared to pack one suitcase and leave but i was not prepared to stay for 14 months, no i did not think that, i do not think about that. >> i
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think we had a town hall meeting, it must have been at the weekend before that when we were told that the shot was going to be allowed to enter the united states for medical treatment. so in bruce laying in said that there are very possibility that nothing will happen and maybe they will try to attack the embassy. so none of us knew what would happen, it was basically a way to see, we were hoping that at most we would just have to leave. >> kathleen it to pick up where you stopped your story, people may be an interested on what traumatized you're exfiltration, where did they take some creative liberty and when did it get right? in >> well with that, there we were on the second floor thinking we smelled smoke and we should leave, so various people left
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in groups, non immigrant section and all the iranians left and we looked outside the door, the back door where the visa applicants could command without having to enter onto the main compound, that was a little ally off the side so that was the separate entrance not only we had. in either this turns to know about that or it had moved to a different so he left the and then they visiting iranians and local staff and they're about 12 or 13 of us americans. we split into smaller groups and in our group there were the other couple, bob enders who was our boss and joe and i, my husband and i and a couple of other people. so we all went out with a group, it started to rain which was probably really lucky because we brought up bras and everyone was concerned about rain and not us. so we headed out towards the british embassy, it was just fear in sanctuary, so the iranian employee said she
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would show us and as we were going, walking that way we saw a really large model, another variable coming from that direction so bob andrews is with us and he said i live close by i am going home and we said we are coming with you bob on an. we separated a little more and walk to bob's house and when we got to his house we listened to the embassy radio and we could hear voices we got here on the americans talking back and forth and trying to figure out what to do and talking about in the vault where all the classified information was kept. finally we only heard farsi speakers so a new everyone had been capturing or taken, so they came, as my staff and got out and they said it's really serious so i called the embassy and got an answer from the switch board occupy. i remember i had a direct extension so i
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called bruises office and swift answer the phone and she said okay it's bad, she said get a hold of the guys in the communication center and find out what is going on from them because they are still in touch with the state. so i called again using this extension called them and they were shredding material and taking care of classified stuff and they said call state. so they gave me that number at the department of state to call at the operations center so that they had another lake. so my staff and i, some of my staff for helping me do this, god
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bless them they were taking a chance but they were monitoring what was being said on radio and television. taking notes, transcribing it and we were feeding that back to washington but also linking to the communications center until they said we will have to go out and the state said tell them they're doing a good job and will say goodbye and then in the next thing i heard was told them they're gone, so we told him that and that is when the fault was praised and they were taken over by the farsi people. so we were still there and trying to figure out what was going on and reporting back. towards evening kathleen, another person had showed up there because she couldn't get back to the office, she was at the airport and said on and she came back and she was there
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helping us and then the six of you showed up and so i said good, we can sleep so we on. they came on and said, i think you wanna to the house-y. so we did eventually go to your house and we were there and then that next day someone came and i got off the back door and went to the german institute they said on, this has got to get settled, this has to simmer down and i have to get back to the phones. so in talks with washington and they said you think it's safe to get back to the phones? i said yeah i hope so, anyway i again back to the deputy who was the english teaching
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specialist on, he was working on right beside us, on the second time they came for us we were taken to the embassy compound-y. >> what happened to us thanks for being able to talk on the phone with kate, this was the most the official iranian diplomats near this is not how you read in international affairs office. so anyway, from kate's office my husband was talking to our number two who were in the ball room at the foreign affairs office. they had gone over to complain about the graffiti, they were trying to sort this out and had someone from the
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iranian government go over and tell everybody to go home so joe was able to talk to them even call the embassy and talk to one of the hostage takers and we all spoke to washington. what that meant was we had a number that we could call vic later on, we could column at the foreign ministry, it was after he woke up he loaned us here car and i called my mom author and she said it's all going to be okay don't worry i didnt talk to her for three months. then vick called and said i have friends at the british embassy that will come get you and you can go and spent another compound, we did,
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that night there compound was attacked to say they said so vague, we called vic again and he called his thai cook and they could speak thai and nobody knew what they were talking about and they had keys to four different in catches. >> if we ever get to boston he was really good. on so the price gave us a ride to john's house so sam was waiting for us, we stayed tonight's there, his regular housekeeper was worried that we were eating food and drinking wine and she was gonna get in trouble, so we thought about tying her up and we said no, since sam had keys to
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kate's house we went to kate's house we snuck away, we always had our clothes so without or close we'd go to your house. there was no walls around it, there is just you on the street so then we felt really exposed and we knew we would eventually find the housing list where the americans lived and we were running out of money. so that's when bob anders who had been there about four months called his good friend, the council general at the canadian embassy and he said why didn't you call sooner, yes we will take you call in and so the brits take, us this was after about five days on and we were in the safety net of the canadians. >> tell us more about that, the canadian government played a big role in this. we are also fortunate to have but what did
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he do during this time >> they are absolutely amazing, the rest of us knew none of the canadians and they took us an, when we arrived there ken taylor was there and he said, at this point there are five of us on and so the ambassador came over and said i'll take to see you don't have such a big blow, a bird in so joe and i my husband and i do not play bridges so we played with them so the others could play bridge. so we spent on the next time on the couch we do not leave that couch we cannot call anyone we just could sit their, read the paper and have our hopes in drawn out. but the ambassador who is working as a reassurance scientists would come home and give us any news they had and encourage us to be
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so kind and so i think at thanksgiving we had a visit and saw the other hostages and so we were hopeful at that point because we were in a good point of negotiations but they found through and i christmas we were still there and we went over to the shootout house to see our friends. then i was pretty pleased because we did see everyone, every time they try to negotiate with someone, the iranian government they disappear lose their position and we have to start all over again. so finally i think this story is that the secretary of state for canada on kept at a meeting and said you have to get those people, i have to get my people safe and you have to get them out of my house and were gonna put them on bikes, if you don't do something, so
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this was on, this was december so tony mendes is the cia officers that was the brilliant forward froger and infiltrater was given the assignment of getting us out, he thought up the idea of this hollywood movie crew, had the right number of people and had friends in hollywood and set up the real studio, set up a studio in hollywood and they said notices and put notices in variety magazine and he came in within three days he gave us some choices and made it obvious this is a choice we should use. we learned our lines and canadians gave us their clothes and then we went to the airport and that was that. miss cope you tell us about your time as a hostage. (applause) >> i will also point out you are one of two female hostages that were holdout, can
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you tell us about that particular part of the experience. >> it's always difficult to try and encapsulate that because it covers such a long period of time, i've realized sort of, let me back up, people say how did you do it and i said two things, i am a farmer's daughter you have to make it work and the other one is i am a cradle lutheran, i was taken to church when i was born to be baptized and i grew up in a family of faith and so my perspective when all of this happening, actually i just met a couple of the marines at a funeral a couple of weeks ago, one of the marine said kate why did you never say that you were
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in solitary, he said you keep saying i was alone. my mind didn't work in those connections that this is solitary imprisonment, so my mind went to the point my god i've been given an incredible gift of time. no meetings, no plans, what can i do with it? so i had always been fascinated ever since i visited austria the first time about the orders of the roman catholic church, my mother said she didn't think i was ever going to talk and i started in 18 months and she said she didn't think she would ever shut me up. i love words, i love communication, here i was in a situation where i was told constantly don't speak, so using what i have read and knowledge that i had from the, past i thought okay i can explore this, so that is where i started from, it was frightening because you didn't know what was going on, it was frightening because you didn't know what was happening to your colleagues. it was miserable because you didn't know what was happening to your family, you are worried about your family worried about you, for
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me it was moving through a series of rooms all by myself, from november 22nd which is when an left taken out of the room that we had been sharing, she had one and and i had the other. i know it's a 22nd because it was my sister's birthday, my anger sister's birthday that's why that date is there, it was march before she convinced him that she needed to have a roommate and we were allowed to become roommates again. so during that time it was one sort of a thing, you didn't know what was going on, whether you're going to be
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questioned, whether you were going to be challenged, on whether you were going to be a left completely alone, part of the time i was in a rule that was an embassy library so i at least had things to lead. i loved to read as much as i love to talk, so i read the book scuba dive-ing in caves, the history of bell telephone and actually there was an administrative textbook and one of the rooms and i got started on, fortunately they found some other material for me, so i was a strange combination of, what next? that is anything going on or we're just sitting here so i don't know how to describe in any differently in you know if you don't like what's going on
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within 15 minutes it will probably change. the one thing it though was, what could not change would could not block more in the demonstrations at night, the chance of death to america, death to carter and the noise outside the embassy compound, that went on on a regular basis from the first day until we left. well actually they had harassed into prison and then to another place, but as long as we were on the compound weekend almost always count on demonstrations at least on friday and saturday nights. >> miss stafford what happened when you got to the airport and how did it feel to return home to the united states? >> when we got to the airport they were very clever about when we would leave. we left first thing in the morning, it was about a 7:00 fighter so so that meant the revolutionary guards that were the big police were not there yet. so it was
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sort of quiet and be more worried about some of these a little slips that we were supposed to have that would've been in their file someplace said we were worried about that but we weren't stuck, we got through immigration, we thought we were home free and then internet our flight was delayed. so we talked to tony and he said just sit tight, so we, the fight you came in about an hour, on we got on the flight and we did not have a runway scenes, i'm happy to say. so when we were on the
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plane and we knew there was an overhead so we are now out of iranian airspace. when i saw that on the move me i felt the same relief, they got away, they did, but that was really a wonderful moment and afterwards when you are still hostages i had trios and i was on the plane but you wouldn't talk to me in. so when the hostages were freed they brought us back and when you are all able to tell us they are happy we gotta that was like a point for our side, and i didn''t have these dreams anymore. >> good, i'm glad. >> it was, one of the young women who is one of our guards had left something on our desk and i was curious, she was got out of the room so how close can i get, there was something about eight americans having caught in a home, well part of that they also sent, 13,
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8 women and five men home in. that was very interesting, why did they send them home? well african americans are highly oppressed by the u.s. genie by showing this goodwill of releasing, except for the ones they kept because they thought they could put the computer back together in, okay we have our fun, the african american community would rise up in solidarity with them against our government, that is why one of the young women explain to me, she had never met an african american or an african because one day she came into the office, well we were in office and she came into the room and she said i like black people, i said oh and she said yeah they're really nice. i said, she said i just meant
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some, we have some here from africa and they're really nice, they said well yeah i like some black americans and some that are really nice and some are not so nice, they're just like people. good and bad, but she had never had that experience and so a lot of what they were thinking and working was very much outside the realm of their personal experience so that made for some interesting conversations when you were trying to figure out what is going on. but that is what diplomacy is all about, discovery and that is when it gets exciting when you can discover something. >> how did you find out you were coming
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home and what did it feel like? >> and i were at the room in the guesthouse and something was a fight, we didn't know what but there were a group of algerian and doctors, medical doctors there and they were giving us exams which is sort of weird, so many stories and then they said get your stuff together you're going home, they told us, we moved 13 times and they told us, i did and they always said get your stuff, you're moving and so on they never said going home, so anne and i were very skeptical and then we had our getaway bags and we said we are ready let's go. they said will be back for you a little bit later and then when they took us out of the building and put us on a bus for the first time we were put on a bus with the man, we had always been separated and so
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they, we got to the airport and i thought we might really be going home and there were two algerian planes on the ground. we were loaded into on and before we could even ask the questions, yes everyone is here and no one is seriously harmed, physically, as we found out later alot carry emotional scars. so we are on the plane, we scented anyone lose a botched because we found it, they had brought something so we would know what time it was so for whatever reason, and. before i open up questions, how
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did your experience shape this for you and iranian people? >> iran oh was i thought it was before i got there, it is a very proud people, have a right to be proud of their long history, poetry, literature, music, and art, so many things they instigated. they were responsible for diplomatic immunity when the silk road was established how many thousand years ago, this is a country that is complex and has a lot of different poles in many different ways and they have a big job just to be able to recognize and move with each other on. they all we all want
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that let's figure out how to get it done people. >> we have time now for questions from the audience, summit this by typing ccga dot live, if you have any questions on acknowledge you. >> how did your life change when the an aborted rescue
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mission happened, did it change your life. >> we intimate know if it happens we know something unusual had gone because there was an unusual amount of gun fire. we were moved and at some point a couple of men came to me and said you cook don't you? i said yeah and he said we on, how many am i cooking? for he said i can tell you in some of our colleagues have been moved off the compound but we are not there with us, we didn't know that we just knew that there was a need for us to commute for two of us in two or three other people, and we, i got a leather that i was not supposed to, they did give us some letters ever male twice by
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schoolchildren and others, people we don't know, this little girl said sorry the rescue attempts failed i hope they try again, and and i looked at each other and thought how is this figuring and then they gave us a back issue of news we gay think it was but the stories about iran and the united states which were, down you could see where the turnout stories they forgot the table of contents and the letters to the editor. it was a feast. so that is how we learned that they died trying to rescue was. that was not a feast that was stunning absolutely stunning and anne and i never did come up with
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another word that could describe how he felt when he learned that. just stunned. >> yes in the second to last row please. >> i guess in the events leading up to the takeover, politically when the shaw left, did you feel that foreign policy let you down in backing the shot or was the revolution stoppable? we knew the revolution was there to stay, it wasn't going to go away but the shaw leaving, the shot going into the united states was very real danger point, we all agreed that this was not advisable, i understand
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from subsequent conversations with the vice president, with vice president model and other people that there were hours spent in discussion as to whether this was on and he resigned because he so strongly disagreed with it, it was not an an easy decision for president carter to make, but given the way person on that he really saw this as a humanity issue. >> thank, you one additional note, there is actually a revised link and you can type in your question on. thank you. >> yes sir in the second row. >> first off thank you so much for your incredible
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service encourage on behalf of our incredible country. i think i understand both of you after returning home, ended up going back out, going back into the foreign service, serving again in new places, some pretty difficult places event, can you talk a little bit about what that decision process was like? was it a difficult choice to make and kind of why was it important to continue under line of work? on
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