Hostage Breakthrough

In his final days as President, Carter reaches agreement with Iran

Finally, after more than 14 months of false starts and faded hopes, the breakthrough that could end America's agonizing—and humiliating—hostage crisis came, as a dramatic climax to a pressure-packed week of high-level international bargaining. The evidence that the end was at hand could not have been more tangible: at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport, which was suddenly closed to routine air traffic, sat a Boeing 707 Algerian airliner, poised to fly the 52 Americans to freedom.

To be sure, a final agreement on the terms...

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