Notre Dame ReSource: 25th anniversary of Iranian hostage crisis

Author: Dennis K. Brown


The Iranian hostage crisis, in which 52 Americans were held for 444 days in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, started 25 years ago Thursday (Nov. 4), beginning an acrimonious relationship between the United States and Iran that remains to this day.p. Yet despite the ongoing hostility, a University of Notre Dame political scientist believes the United States should use a carrot rather than a stick in its current and future dealings with the Iranians.p. George Lopez, senior fellow in Notre Dames Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, said that while the United States should continue to advocate that Iran refrain from aiding and abetting terrorists and that it not develop a nuclear arms program,a strategy of constructive engagement over these issues, rather than one of punishment and ostracism, is more likely to produce U.S. goals.p. Such a strategy, he said, would include U.S. support of Irans application to participation in the World Trade Organization and sanctions against companies and governments that supply centrifuges and related technologies to Iran.p. With a quarter century history of bad relations between Iran and the U.S., it is unlikely that any single initiative will reverse Tehrans course in the short-term,Lopez acknowledged.This may be especially true as long as a large contingent of U.S. troops is living next door in Iraq. But a reasonable movement from hostility to cautious cooperation can occur as a result of a smart and sustained U.S. policy of engagement. Policies that seek to punish, isolate and humiliate Iran are out of touch with current realities and are doomed to failure.p. Media contact: George A. Lopez, 574-631-6972 or

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