Written by Staff Writer
By Lindsay Ellis, CNN
The 12 British diplomats held hostage by Iranian officials from November 1978 to January 1981 are best known as the “Jaws of Death”.
Hostages John Hearn, Ken Bigley, Bob Quick, Polly Carmichael, Jack Hobhouse, Ned Doherty, Brian Keenan, Paul Smyth, Robert Colquhoun, Hurd and Colwyn were singled out for dying quickly.
The next photo postmortem would be revealed as the film showed less and less of their bodies.
However, in February 1981, Andrew Huenke held two hostages and sent a photo of the 11 other he had been holding to the British embassy. The 11 men had apparently had trouble seeing because they were wearing nightcaps.
Hostage Hurd and film showing an unidentified hostage facing the camera. Credit: National Archives of the United Kingdom
Amelia Jessop held hostages both in Tehran and at the U.S. embassy in London and even directed the TV series “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn,” a film depicting the drama of the hostage crisis.
However, she was hospitalized at the end of the hostage situation.
Britain sent a plane to pick up hostages Amelia Jessop and Dr. Peter Lawrence, who had survived being held in Tehran. Two of the group, Moira Rea and John Murray, were at the University of Liverpool, where Jessop was a lecturer and was offered an early retirement.
However, the offer was later withdrawn and Jessop, Murray and another British hostage, Jan Chipchase, were held in captivity until Christmas 1984.
At the time of the hostage crisis, Iran was facing a well-organized group of political activists, the Black September faction.
At an Iranian news conference, Iranian prime minister Sadeq Ghotbzadeh proclaimed that the British Embassy staff would be on trial, but that would change a few months later when Khomeini issued a fatwa (or religious edict) banning the military prosecution of any hostage.