A Letter From The Publisher, Nov. 19, 1979

For the staff of TIME, major international events often do not simply happen—they unfold slowly, develop subtly, provoke reactions from other parts of the world and change course with maddening unpredictability. So it was with the crisis over the seizure by Iranian students of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, the subject of this week's cover story.

Though the embassy compound fell to the mob quickly enough, the standoff that followed kept taking on new subplots, complications and even characters: the P.L.O., the Pope, the United Nations, Muhammad Ali. Said Senior Editor John Elson, who supervised the coverage: "It's a cover story with...

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