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Part 1 The Cold War Era (1945–89), 26 The US Hostage Rescue Operation in Iran—1980

Mathias Forteau, Alison See Ying Xiu

From: The Use of Force in International Law: A Case-Based Approach

Edited By: Tom Ruys, Olivier Corten, Alexandra Hofer

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 19 May 2024

Hostage taking — International law and international relations — International organizations — UN Charter

The present contribution discusses the US hostage recuse operation in Iran in 1980. After the presentation of the relevant facts and context of the (eventually aborted) operation, including the official positions of the US and Iran as publicly expressed at that time, the present contribution assesses the legality of the operation, taking into account the reactions of other states and competent international organizations. The legality of the operation is assessed under Article 2(4) and 51 of the UN Charter and other possible exceptions under customary international law such as self-help. It concludes that it is doubtful that the operation was in conformity with international law.

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