In our review of the movie “Argo”, we noted above that Reagan received undue credulous-public credit for the release of the Tehran hostages, and that he used his own Presidency for disgraceful truckling to Iran. It turns out there may be more to the story, of a particularly ominous kind.
I’m reading the new biography of Robert Ames -- The Good Spy by Kai Bird (2014). We rach the time after the Shah of Iran had been overthrown, and Khomeini was in power, but the U.S. embassy had not yet been attacked. What should be done about the ex-Shah?
The author introduces this chapter with an unvarnished quote from President Jimmy Carter (we ourselves -- since this is a family site -- shall varnish it slightly, to the extent of replacing a vowel with an asterisk): “F*ck the Shah. I am not going to welcome him here when he has other places to go where he’ll be safe.” This was no more than prudent, in accord with national security. Yet “Carter had been hounded for months by a lobbying campaign, code-named ‘Project Alpha’, personally financed by David Rockefeller” (p. 228); Rosalynn Carter’s diary states “Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Howard Baker, John McCloy, Gerald Ford -- all are after Jimmy to bring the shah to the United States.” Alas, Carter eventually bent to the relentless pressure, and on 22 October 1979, the shah arrived in New York.
Two weeks later, our embassy in Tehran was taken over, and the hostages seized, in what became the defining tragedy of the Carter administration, and a convenient preparation for Ronald Reagan to take over the Presidency.
But it gets worse …