Thirty four years ago today, thousands of Iranian protestors broke down the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, took the Americans inside as hostages, and began a 444-day ordeal that no American alive at the time will soon forget. Again today, Iranian hardliners celebrated this anniversary in Tehran’s streets by burning American flags and chanting anti-American slogans.
Later this week, the United States and our international partners will meet again with Iranian representatives in Geneva. I have strongly supported the tough economic sanctions that have brought the Iranian regime to the negotiating table, and I urge the Administration not to back away from these sanctions until Iran translates its rhetoric into concrete and verifiable action. Previous negotiation efforts have yielded little but additional time for Iran to continue its support of terrorism and expand its nuclear program.
In honor of those Americans who were taken hostage on November 4, 1979, we must continue to insist that Iran forgo its enrichment program and allow full access for international inspectors. Their courage and sacrifice those many years ago should prompt us to accept nothing less.