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Operation Nimrod   >   What Happened   >   Aftermath

   
 

Aftermath of the Iranian Embassy Siege


The most important consequence of the SAS storming the embassy was the freeing of all but two of the hostages alive (Iranian press attaché Abbas Lavasani had been murdered by the terrorists before the storming, and an additional hostage was shot by a terrorist while the SAS were taking the building).

Five of the six terrorists were killed, and there was some controversy about how two of them died. Some hostages have stated that they had persuaded two of the gunmen, Shai and Makki, to surrender, and had witnessed them throw down their weapons and sit on the floor with their hands on their heads (outside observers also saw weapons being thrown from a window and a white flag). Nevertheless, the hostages said they saw SAS soldiers push these two men against a wall and shoot them. However, at a subsequent coroner's inquest the SAS soldiers were cleared of any wrongdoing by a jury.

Some years after the siege, it was also claimed that a terrorist who had inadvertently been taken outside with the rescued hostages, was about to be led back into the embassy to be shot by the SAS soldiers, but they only refrained from doing so because they realized that the were being watched by the media. Furthermore, an SAS soldier has claimed in a BBC documentary that Dennis Thatcher (husband of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) visited them at Regent's Park barracks after the incident and joked that they had failed in one respect: "You let one of the bastards live".

The storming of the Iranian embassy brought the British Special Air Service (SAS) to great prominence, whereas previously they had always managed to remain a relatively unknown organization. As a result, there have been many Books, DVDs, Videos and TV programmes made about the SAS. Additionally, the 1983 movie "Who Dares Wins" (named after the motto on the SAS cap badge), and the song "Crossfire" on the Jethro Tull album "A", were inspired by the events of Operation Nimrod.

One other consequence of the day's events was that it brought the BBC journalist Kate Adie to public attention - and she was subsequently to become one of the first female reporters to regularly report from warzones. Kate Adie's subsequent assignments were to include the 1986 American bombing of Libya, the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the Gulf War, the wars in the Yugoslavia and the the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

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