11 February 1979 is the officially proclaimed hour of victory of the Islamic Revolution, the day marking the final overthrow of the monarchy. But the revolutionaries did not in fact truly prevail until 4 November. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini would later call what happened that day "the second revolution".
 
The mood in Tehran that morning was agitated. "Death to America!" chanted several hundred revolution-hungry students outside the U.S. Embassy that day, dozens of them climbing the fence and forcibly entering the building. They took 66 U.S. diplomats hostage, 52 of whom would be held captive for over a year.
 
Khomeini's second revolution was accomplished: the provisional civilian government stepped down and the radical clergy crossed the finish line. On 4 November 1979, an enmity was thus born that many in Iran, as well as America, still consider incapable of ever being resolved.
 

From Mossadegh to Salman Rushdie

The anti-American sentiment that erupted that day had its roots some three decades previously: the overthrow of democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh on 13 August 1953. Popular opinion leaves no room for doubt: the overthrow was orchestrated by the CIA and driven by America's thirst for oil.
 
Some 47 years later, in March 2000, the then U.S. Secretary of State Madelaine Albright admitted for the first time that the USA had been involved in the coup d'etat. One month later, the New York Times published documents describing the CIA's key role in the coup against Mossadegh. But no action was taken in response to this avowal of guilt. The ice age between Iran and the USA that had begun with the occupation of the embassy in Tehran would not be easy to bring to an end.
 
Directly after the American diplomats were taken hostage in 1979, the U.S. government decided to impose an import ban on Iranian goods. But the Islamic Republic continued to run riot. Some of the diplomats were still being held hostage when war broke out against Iraq on 22 September 1980.
 
The Iran-Iraq war raged on for eight years: while the Islamic Republic was under a worldwide arms embargo for the entire duration, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was able to obtain weapons and materials from almost any country in the Western world. The war was at its height when 60 U.S. soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Beirut on 18 April 1983. In response, President Ronald Reagan declared Iran a "sponsor of international terrorism". Again, sanctions were tightened.
 
 

No sooner was the Iran-Iraq war over than Ayatollah Khomeini issued a death fatwa against the writer Salman Rushdie in 1989 for his book "The Satanic Verses". The Islamic Republic was henceforward considered a "rogue state" not only by the U.S. government, but by many others in the Western world as well. In protest against the fatwa, all EU member states withdrew their ambassadors from Iran. Once again, sanctions would follow.

Three years later, on 17 September 1992, a death squad following orders from Tehran murdered four Iranian opposition members at the Mykonos Restaurant in Berlin. A Berlin court later noted in its ruling that nearly the entire leadership of the Islamic Republic had been involved in the assassination. In response, Germany's political parties unanimously called for an end to the European Union's "critical dialogue" with Iran. The upshot: more sanctions.

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