Iran Hostages: The Man Behind the Blindfold

From the beginning, he was a symbol of the crisis, an anonymous, blindfolded victim being taunted by an enraged Iranian mob soon after militants seized the U.S. embassy. During the next 14½ months, his picture was published again and again as emblematic of the ordeal of all the American hostages. The blindfold was finally lifted last week, and he was identified by friends and relatives as William Earl Belk.

A 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and the Marines, Belk, 43, became a communications specialist at the embassy only a month before the takeover. His second wife, Angela, 23, of...

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