Over 40-years ago, Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, and took 98 hostages. The majority of them would be held for 444 days until they would be freed just before Ronald Reagan became President. 

The events that unfolded during the crisis would put in motion the creation of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), as several months earlier, an ad-hoc rescue attempt conducted by Army, Air Force, Marine, and Navy assets ended in a fireball at Desert One — the staging area that the rescuers would be making the attempt from.  So, in a manner of speaking, the Iranians were the driving force in creating SOCOM. 

Iran was a powder keg in the late 1970s. The hated Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, had been deposed and was sick, dying with cancer. The United States allowed Pahlavi to enter the U.S. to be treated for his cancer. 

Under his rule, Iran had been a close ally to the United States — although Pahlavi distrusted some presidents that he felt were openly plotting to replace him.