America Still Held Hostage: The Hostage Crisis Generation and Public Opinion about Iran Deal

03 January 2020, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


The hostage crisis of 1979 was a defining moment in the history of US-Iran relationship that left a lasting impact on the generation of the Americans who witnessed it and deeply affected their attitudes toward Iran and Iran-related policies. In this paper, we use a case study of the Iran nuclear deal to put this idea to the test. We hypothesize that the hostage crisis generation is less likely to support the Iran nuclear deal than the post-hostage crisis generation. Using data from the 2015 Chicago Council Survey of American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy, we conduct a formal statistical analysis. The results of our OLS regression analysis show that there is a statistically significant difference between foreign policy attitudes of the two generations, irrespective of partisanship and ideology that are usually considered the main determinants of public opinion on foreign policy.


Iran hostage crisis
foreign policy attitudes
Iran deal
hostage crisis generation
generation gap
public opinion
US-Iran relationship


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.