On December 31, 1977, The United States president was in Tehran, the capital of Iran, speaking to their leader. During the stay, he called Iran “an Island of Stability”. Less than two years later, on November 4, 1979, the US embassy in Tehran was stormed by Iranian Students and all United Citizens were taken hostage. Four-hundred forty-four days later, on January 20, 1981, the hostages were finally released. Every single one of those days, the world was watching.
This political cartoon was released on January 24, 1980, which was 81 days into the hostage crisis. The cartoon uses Uncle Same to represent the United States. In it the Uncle Sam is looking confidant and proud, fully believing that the United States is the most powerful country. Meanwhile, the Ayatollah Khomeini is wrapping a rope around the legs of Uncle Sam. The Ayatollah is much smaller to represent how the USA is much stronger than Iran. The rope around the legs symbolizes how Iran is tying up and stopping the United States. The cartoon overall shows how the strong and proud nation of the United States is being successfully stopped by a much weaker Iran, and is doing nothing about it.
In order to understand the tensions, one must look back. For thousands of years the people of Iran had a Shah as an absolute ruler. In order to secure access to Iranian oil fields during the second World War, the United States Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as Shah of Iran as a puppet of the United States. This lasted until 1951 when Mohammed Mosaddeq became an extremely popular Iranian Prime Minister. He made it his goal to nationalize the Iranian oil industry away from British. To combat this, the newly set up CIA secretly organized a coup to remove the Prime Minister from office. The Shah gained power back, and this time used secret police known as the Savak to retain power. The Savak, trained by the CIA, used torture techniques, executions, censorship, among other tactics to remove opposition to the Shah. While many of the citizens of Iran were struggling to make a living, their Shah lived a life of excess. Protests began took place until finally becoming successful in 1979.
That year, the Shah fled and hid out in Mexico. The Ayatollah came and turned the country into an Islamic Republic, of which he became the Supreme leader. That same year the exiled Shah had become diagnosed with cancer. Against the advice the State Department, President Jimmy Carter allowed the Shah into the United States to get medical treatment at a New York Hospital.
The already angry, anti-american Iranians became enraged. The citizens, including the Ayatollah threw accusations at the UNited States. They believed the Shah was actually healthy and there was an American plot to stage another coup and put the Shah back into power. Also, they thought the embassy was full of spies. While none of this was actually true, it was of no concern to the Ayatollah who used this belief as a propaganda technique to...