Robert Gates on Iran

Sec Robert Gates decides to start talking about the Iranian hostage crises

Zbigniew Brzezinski — President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor — told the Iranians that although it had supported exiled Shah Reza Pahlavi’s rule in Iran, the United States would accept the revolution, would recognize the new Iranian government and would follow through on arms sales contracted by the shah’s government, Gates said.

Brzezinski noted the United States and Iran had a common enemy – the Soviet Union – and said the two nations could work together.

“Their response was, ‘Give us the shah,’” Gates told the students. The exiled leader was in the United States at the time for medical treatment. Each side repeated its position a couple of times, and finally, Gates said, “Brzezinski stood up and said, ‘To give you the shah would be incompatible with our national honor.’ And that ended it.”

Three days later, Iranian radicals seized the American embassy in Tehran.