J. D. Hayworth recalls the 1979 hostage crisis in Tehran and the measures taken to ensure the safety of Iranian students attending NC State. Interview on July 11, 2015. (2:38)


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With the American hostages taken at the US embassy in Tehran, we had a significant population of Iranian students here on the NC State campus 00:00:00.000 - 00:00:13.947
and they did not all speak with one voice. You had a group of students pro-Shah, a group of students pro-Khomeini, and there was a concern that there might be some sort of violence between those groups. 00:00:13.947 - 00:00:32.754
But, moreover, the big concern was what would happen if there was a mission to rescue the hostages 00:00:32.754 - 00:00:46.082
and if something had gone wrong, or for whatever reason in the news just frustration, what about our Iranian students becoming targets? 00:00:46.082 - 00:00:58.318
So we sat down with Student Life and with some folks who knew Persian/Iranian culture and, quite frankly, with some missionaries who had been in that part of the world, 00:00:58.318 - 00:01:12.900
and we actually tried to develop contingency plans to keep the Iranian students safe if something had happened, 00:01:12.900 - 00:01:25.508
and of course you did have the failed rescue attempt, Desert One, which led to development of our Special Forces. 00:01:25.508 - 00:01:32.799
Fortunately nothing came of that, but I remember getting involved in planning and thinking at the time, "Wait, I'm just a student body president. This is almost like a foreign policy, national security issue." 00:01:32.799 - 00:01:47.891
There was one day where the frustration led to a huge march by our students - hundreds, I would imagine, not thousands - 00:01:47.891 - 00:01:56.993
and then there was a sentiment afoot that this should be a daily or weekly occurrence, but there was concern about campus life. 00:01:56.993 - 00:02:09.903
So the suggestion was made, "Well, why don't you march down Hillsborough Street to the parking lot at Carter-Finley Stadium and we'll convene down there." 00:02:09.903 - 00:02:20.537
So there were a couple of rallies down there, but I think the sheer distance of the walk took some of the passion out of that. 00:02:20.537 - 00:02:28.965
But it was a very interesting time to be involved in student government. 00:02:28.965 - 00:02:35.861

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