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Dramatic Hostage Rescue In London: The 1980 Iranian Embassy Siege

On April 30, 1980, six gunmen seized the Iranian Embassy in London, taking 21 hostages, two of whom they killed. The dramatic six-day siege ended when elite British SAS troops stormed the building to rescue the remaining 19 hostages. Five of the gunmen were killed.

They were members of a dissident Iranian group, the Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan (DRFLA). The group demanded the release of 91 prisoners in Iran's southern Khuzestan Province, where the DRFLA wanted Arab national sovereignty.

Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Arabs living in Khuzestan Province rose up and demanded autonomy. A crackdown by Iranian security forces left more than a hundred Arab protesters dead and many more were jailed. More than a dozen elite troops from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were also killed in the clashes.

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Kateryna Oliynyk

Kateryna Oliynyk is a digital media coordinator for RFE/RL.

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Stuart Greer

Stuart Greer is a multimedia editor for RFE/RL.

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