267: The Canadian Caper: Canada’s Role in the Iran Hostage Crisis

Episode 267: On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants attacked the US embassy in Tehran, Iran, taking 66 diplomats and staff members hostage. Remarkably, six diplomats managed to slip away unnoticed. These individuals were Robert Anders, Cora Lijek, Mark Lijek, Joseph Stafford, Kathleen Stafford, and Lee Schatz. Schatz sought refuge at the Swedish embassy, while the others went to the British embassy. However, upon nearing the embassy, they encountered a large crowd of protestors obstructing their path. Consequently, they decided to take shelter at Anders’ residence and devise their next steps. After six harrowing days, the six American diplomats sought refuge at the Canadian embassy. 

The Canadian Ambassador to Iran, Ken Taylor, and his team provided shelter to the American diplomats and false Canadian passports. The Canadian government played a critical role in the mission to rescue them. The then-Canadian Prime Minister, Joe Clark, approved the operation and fully supported Ambassador Taylor and his team. 

The rescue mission, known as the “Canadian Caper,” involved the creation of a fake movie production company called “Studio Six” and the production of a fake science fiction film called “Argo.” The Canadian embassy staff, along with the American diplomats, managed to escape from Iran using a combination of air travel and ground transportation. They were safely evacuated from Iran on January 28, 1980. The role played by Canada in the hostage crisis was highly appreciated by the US government and earned Canada international recognition for helping resolve the crisis.


How the Shah’s Cancer May Have Changed History

The Iranian Revolution — A timeline of events

Ken Taylor and the Canadian Caper

Our Man In Tehran by Robert Wright — Ebook | Scribd

The Canadian Caper — Pelletier, Jean | Internet Archive

Ken Taylor and the “Canadian Caper” | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Canada history: Jan 27, 1980 — The famous “Canadian Caper” rescue – RCI | English

What you won’t see in Argo — Macleans.ca

Argo, F**k Yourself: Iran and the Oscars – The Diplomat

‘We lost a true hero’: Ken Taylor, 1934-2015 – Macleans.ca

Tony Mendez, former CIA officer and inspiration for ‘Argo,’ dies at 78 – National | Globalnews.ca

Ken Taylor satisfied with Affleck’s shoutout to Canada during Oscar speech | Globalnews.ca

Canada and Iran

U.S. Relations With Iran – United States Department of State

Iran – The CIA World Factbook

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