Andrew Jiang '19 Tehran hostage crisis

Andrew Jiang '19
Tehran hostage crisis


Andrew Jiang is a senior at Harvard studying Statistics, with a secondary in Economics. He was born and raised in suburban New Jersey and truly holds his state pride dear to his heart. He has participated extensively in many Model United Nations programs on campus, including directing and crisis directing at conferences in Boston, India, Panama, Colombia, and Peru. He is also an avid traveller on the American MUN circuit, having served as last year's Head Delegate. When not doing something MUN-related, you can find Andrew watching horror movies, doing the daily crossword, or binge-watching cooking videos on Youtube. He is incredibly excited to meet you all in the beautiful city of Madrid!

Topic: Tehran Hostage Crisis

In November 1979, marking the apex of revolutionary unsettlement in Iran, 52 American diplomats and citizens were captured and taken hostage for an astounding 444 days. By 1977, demonstrations against the former US-backed Shah Pahlavi had begun to engulf Iran and come 1979, revolutionary voices were resounding in the streets of Tehran demanding the return of the exiled Shah for trial and execution for treachery to the State. In October 1979, President Carter welcomed (albeit reluctantly so) the Shah onto American soil to receive medical treatment. The site of his treatment was the New York Presbyterian Hospital, the doors of which locked out hordes of Iranian students studying in the US in late October, who had gathered in protest, chanting: “Death to the Shah!”

Soon thereafter, and perhaps in response, another group of students following the “Imam’s Line” reacted with more efficacy and took over the US Embassy in Tehran, instigating the longest hostage crisis in history. Little did they know, however, that they would be causing the US and Iranian governments to interact more intensively than they ever would again, at least until 2013.

With a timeline beginning in November 1979, the committee will consist of a team of experts and negotiators under the tutelage of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Engaging with the Iranians and planning a rescue for the American lives on the line, the rescue mission and negotiations will challenge team members to think as creatively and collaboratively as possible in a high-pressure environment. The high stakes will put diplomatic reputation and diplomatic tact at odds, forcing delegates to think critically about what constitutes the most realistic and effective tactics of negotiation.