President Carter Issues Executive Order 12170

In the United States, the hostage-taking is said to have created "a surge of patriotism" and left "the American people more united than they have been on any issue in two decades." The action was seen "not just as a diplomatic affront," but as a "declaration of war on diplomacy itself." Television news gave daily updates. President Carter applied economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran: oil imports from Iran were ended on November 12, 1979, and through the issuance of Executive Order 12170, around US$8 billion of Iranian assets in the U.S. were frozen by the Office of Foreign Assets Control on November 14.

During the weeks leading up to Christmas in 1979, high school students created Christmas cards that were delivered to the hostages in Iran. This was then replicated by community groups across the country, resulting in bales of Christmas cards delivered to the hostages. The White House Christmas Tree that year was left dark except for the top star.

A heckler in Washington, D.C. leans across a police line toward a demonstration of Iranians during the Iran hostage crisis, August 1980.

On November 14th, 1979, President Jimmy Carter announced a ban on oil imports from Iran. He also stopped the sale of weapons to Iran. Both measures damaged the Iranian economy and military capability. Their full effect was felt a year later when the nation entered a war with Iraq. The oil embargo divested Iran of a major source of income. At the same time, however, it kept fuel prices high in the United States, where consumers had recently been feeling the bite of the OPEC embargo.