Free Hostage Crisis at Prince’s Gate Essay Sample


The core purpose of the current research was to investigate a well-known terrorism-counterterrorism incident and evaluate it thoroughly. The incident, explored in the framework of the research, was hostage crisis at Prince’s Gate in 1980. In this connection, the thesis statement should be formulated as follows: despite delaying negotiations and a long-lasting siege of the Iranian Embassy in London, the assault, conducted by the SAS, was a genuine success of a counterterrorist and hostage rescue mission.   

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Hypothesis. The hypothesis, which had to be verified in the current study, should be stated as follows: the SAS, being a strictly military organization, was always devoid of the features of a law enforcement agency.

Objectives. The current research study was conducted in order to complete a wide range of objectives, such as:

  1. To examine the terrorism-counterterrorism incident.
  2. To produce a brief background of the incident.
  3. To ascertain what motives had incited the terrorists to create the hostage situation.
  4. To clarify what actors were involved in the incident.
  5. To depict the counterterrorism tactics and tools, involved in the incident.
  6. To outline the lessons, learnt due to the incident.
  7. To criticize what was wrong and elaborate on what was done right.
  8. To provide relevant suggestions and recommendations for what could have been done if a similar situation happened in the future.

The methodology of the current research included a comparative analysis, synthesis, classification and case study.

Examination of the incident: motives, actors and background

To start with, it should be outlined that on the morning of April 30, 1980, six Iranian revolutionaries congregated in the hall of their hotel at 105 Lexham Gardens in Kensington, in the West End of London, and moved to the Embassy of Iran at Prince’s Gate, South Kensington (Fremont-Barnes, 2009). It should be taken into consideration that the aforementioned revolutionaries belonged to a group, which was called the Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan. This group sought independence for Khuzestan, an oil-rich region of Iran, which was inhabited by ethnic Arabs who frequently revolted against the Iranian government.

In the author’s opinion, Khuzestanis’ rebellion after the Second World War purposed to create the linkage between the region and Iraq; however, the governmental forces managed to suppress the Arabs’ separatist ambitions, keeping them in the state until 1978 (Fremont-Barnes, 2009). Furthermore, it should be noted that ayatollah, a class of Iranian Shiite religious leaders, was not disposed to see the state, portioned into ethnically homogenous regions with Persians, Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Baluchis and Khuzestanis as dominant majority in each of such regions (Fremont-Barnes, 2009).

To the researcher’s point of view, such unitarian politics became a trigger for Khuzestanis to start a campaign of frustrated violence and demolition, both causing the enormous damage to the oil industry of Iran and substantially diminishing the rates of exports “below a million barrels a day - an 80 per cent decline” (Fremont-Barnes, 2009, p. 15). Therefore, the seizers of the Iranian Embassy in London were driven by the same motivation as Khuzestanis in Iran - to broadcast their political cause and emphasize the grievances, which were slightly known to the Westerners.

In view of the above, it should be claimed that the hostage situation at Prince’s Gate of 1980 could be logically divided into two stages: 1) - the seizure of the Embassy; and 2) - the SAS assault. In the context of the first stage, it should be stated that the men who conducted the seizure of the Iranian Embassy arrived in London from Iraq a month before the incident. In accordance with Fremont-Barnes’ considerations, it is possible to ascertain that the gunmen were well armed but poorly trained in the use of grenades, automatic pistols and machine guns, which had feasibly infiltrated into the United Kingdom in the Iraqi diplomatic bag (Fremont-Barnes, 2009).

Hence, six heavily armed terrorist with cloth, pulled around their heads, burst into the building of the Embassy with weapons ready to be used. The group’s leader had been known as Oan Ali Mahammed or “Salim” (the police codename). The hostages consisted of 26 persons, including 17 members of the embassy personnel, eight visitors and a police constable (PC).

Apart from the PC Trevor Lock, the other British hostages included Sim Harris and Chris Cramer, employees of the BBC, and Ron Morris, the embassy manager, and a driver.  After the building had been captured, Oan declared, “We are the members of the Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan. We are the Martyrs” (Fremont-Barnes, 2009, p. 18).

Taking into consideration the aforesaid statement, it should be supplemented that the key demands of the terrorists consisted in the following: 1) - human and legitimate rights for their people; 2) - autonomy for “Arabistan”; 3) - the liberation of 91 Arabs who were held in Iranian prisons and creation of a free passage for them out of Iran (Fremont-Barnes, 2009).

The Metropolitan Police reacted very swiftly, establishing a temporary command post and cordoning off the area. Also, the author accentuates on the fact that the widely spread presence of the police had obviously attracted both public and press interest, therefore, an army of reporters occupied the area. Additionally, the law enforcement agents were forced to keep the reporters at a distance in order to prevent the terrorists from watching the police’s preparations on television (Fremont-Barnes, 2009).

 After Prince’s Gate had been taken under siege, the SAS (Special Air Service) started its preparations. According to Chris McNab (2002), the operational intelligence had been provided by covert surveillance teams who were capable to track even movements and voices of the terrorists across the building (p. 9). It was a first-rate operation. The SAS servicemen were divided into two groups - “Red Team” and “Blue Team” - 25 men each. The operation being a brilliant manifestation of an elite counterterrorist and hostage rescue measures in an urban close-quarters setting, called “Nimrod” (McNab, 2002).

From the tactical point of view, the operation had a traditional composition with three entry points into the building. In this connection, eight men of “Red Team” broke into the Embassy from the second-floor balcony at the rear of the construction, while the other two groups assaulted the third and fourth floors. Simultaneously, “Blue Team” stormed the basement and the two floors above. The soldiers of the SAS performed their duties excellently. As the results, five terrorists, including Oan, the leader, were killed, two hostages died, and one terrorist was evacuated and secured with the rest of the hostages (McNab, 2002).

To sum up, it should be stated that the incident at Prince’s Gate of 1980 was a specific hostage situation. Furthermore, it should be clarified that the principle prerequisites to the incident originated from the politically ethnical conflict in Iran.

In the final analysis, the incident was successfully resolved by the British Special Air Service due to the proficient execution of rescuing and other counterterrorist measures. In order to expand the understanding of the incident, the counterterrorism tools and tactics, which were used in the conflict, should be analyzed next.

Counterterrorism tools and tactics, involved in the incident

According to Chris Chant (1997), the involvement of the SAS during the crisis of 1980 was highly praised by the British government. The fact is that the task of police negotiators was fairly difficult. Therefore, they were calming the situation, while wearing the terrorists over the telephone. Simultaneously, the negotiators were coordinating their efforts with additional specialist units, including the police marksmen of the D11 unit, anti-terrorist officers of the C13 unit, the Specialist Patrol Group and members of C7, and the Metropolitan Police’s Technical Support Branch (Chant, 1997).

According to Chant’s considerations, it is possible to suggest that the aforesaid units were only supporting players in the crisis. It is necessary to take into account that the central actors had not arrived at the moment. Moreover, the author reckons that a Special Projects Team was sent rapidly from Hereford. It might be relevant to notice that in Hereford, there had always been one Sabre Squadron, subdivided into Special Projects Teams, on 24-hour stand-by for the counterterrorist and hostage-rescue role (Chant, 1997).

This “Red Team” was composed of a captain and 24 troopers of B Squadron. Also, a note should be made that Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Rose, commander of the Regiment at the scene, was authorized to implement the plan of “immediate action” in case of any apparent short-term threat to the hostages.

In this connection, it should be ascertained that an instant rescue attempt had been evaluated as impossible at the moment. Thus, a “deliberate assault plan” was created for the further implementation at the spot and time, decided by the SAS (Chant, 1997). As the negotiations between the police and terrorists were proceeding, the “Blue Team” of the SAS arrived. So, both of the SAS assault teams started paying attention to a careful examination of each detail and a scrap of intelligence, which could be practically gathered about the Iranian Embassy building.

Additionally, it should be noted that the specialists of MI5, the British counter-intelligence organization, managed to install the microphones in the walls and down the chimneys. Those tools facilitated to detect the location of the terrorists and hostages in the building. Also, at the Regent’s Park Barracks, the army engineers had constructed a full-scale model of the embassy. Meanwhile, at the governmental level, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher talked over the crisis with senior members of the Ministry of Defense, MI5, MI6 (the British military intelligence organization) and the SAS. Such meetings were known as the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBRA). Therefore, the participants of COBRA meetings decided that, “a program of caution and patience was the best policy” (Chant, 1997, p. 83).

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However, inside the Iranian Embassy, the situation worsened. According to Chant (1997), the prerequisites to the deterioration included the Government’s steadfast denial to yield, and the failure of the Arab mediators to appear on the terrorists’ demand. The aforementioned factors made Ali Mohammed “Salim”, the terrorist leader, to sound fairly volatile and nervous during his conversations with the police negotiators. After all, when the body of Abbas Lavasani, the embassy’s chief press officer, was thrown by the terrorists out of the building and onto the pavement, it became apparent that the further authority for the situation needed to be entrusted to the SAS.

In view of the above, the SAS operation, regarding the crisis in the Iranian Embassy of 1980, should be apprehended as the assault of the building and the rescue of hostages. From the tactical point of view, the storm involved both “Red Team” and “Blue Team”. There were three entry points into the building. The primary duty of the “Red Team” was to break into the Embassy from the second-floor balcony at the rear and simultaneously to assault the third and fourth floors of the building. On the other hand, the operators of “Blue Team” had to assault the basement and the two floors above.

According to Chris Chant (1997), the men, involved in the storm of the Embassy, used firearms, stun grenades and CS gas, striving to reach the hostages before they were killed. As the operators knew nothing about the precise location of the hostages, they were forced to clear 50 rooms of the Embassy one by one, and, concurrently, being on guard in case of any trouble. Hence, the plan required from “Red Team” to tackle the upper half of the Embassy, while “Blue Team” was expected to clear the lower half of the building. In addition, a multitude of snipers both provided the necessary firing support and augmented a reassuring feeling.

The roof tactics required from “Red Team” to abseil from the roof to the back balconies of each storey of the building as well as to blow in the skylight on the fourth storey in order to provide entry from the roof (Chant, 1997). In the same manner, “Blue Team” was required to clear the basement, the ground and first story. When the operation began, the snipers started firing CS gas into the Embassy. Simultaneously, the “Blue Team” operators started using sledgehammers in order to break the glass and get in. Also, at the front of the building a four-man SAS team used a special frame charge against the glazing.

As far as the tactics of assault is concerned, it might be appropriate to acknowledge that the SAS operators accompanied their movements towards clearing the building with the use of stun grenades. As the result, the Embassy was filled with CS gas and smoke. Chasing the terrorists inside the building, the SAS revealed that the hostages were assembled in the Embassy’s telex room.

The major fire fight between the terrorists and the SAS took place in the telex room. The terrorists were shot by the SAS operators with swiftness and preciseness. However, the SAS soldiers demonstrated the creative reasoning during the operation as well. Thus, during a moment of forcing a door in the Embassy by the SAS unit, one member of the unit decided to climb out on to the balcony with the idea of entering the locked room from the window. As he tried to do so, he spotted a terrorist, making fruitless attempts to open fire within the room (Ryan, 2003).

In the context of clearing the Iranian Embassy, it is possible to elucidate that such tactical clearing was conducted, according to the specially elaborated procedures. According to Chant (1997), the operators were required to prevent the terrorists from fleeing. Also, each step in the process of clearing was accompanied by the use of stun grenades. Furthermore, it should be conceded that the clearing was conducted in logical manner: a half of the building was swept by the “Red team”, while another half of the Embassy was cleared by the “Blue Team”. In addition, a mental note should be made that both teams were required to act simultaneously in order to prevent any gaps in clearing. Besides, the SAS operators were allowed to use lethal force immediately, giving priority to the rescue of hostages.

After everything has been given due consideration, it might be relevant to generalize the tactics and tools, which were used by the British counterterrorist actors during the hostage crisis at Prince’s Gate in 1980. Thus, the tactical and technical peculiarities of the operation should be clarified as follows:

  • Assault and hostage rescue. In the context of tactics, the operation combined the elements of both approaches: assault and hostage rescue. The assault (storm) was an immediate action, directed towards the elimination of the threat. Strategically, the operation could be called a counterterrorist one. Thus, the tactics of assault was deemed to prevent the terrorist menace from escalating. On the other hand, the hostage rescue, as a component of assault, was regarded as a prioritized task, which entitled to use a deadly force.
  • Close-quarters battle (CQB). In the context of the tactics, which was used by the SAS during the assault of the Iranian Embassy in London, it should be emphasized that members of the SAS Counter Revolutionary Warfare Wing (CRW) used to take regular close-quarters battle drills in the regiment’s “Killing House”. Such drills helped the SAS operators to act in unison, when the time came. According to Leroy Thompson (1994), close-quarters battle (CQB) was one of the most critical skills for those operators who were assigned to the counterterrorist squadron of the regiment. Thus, close-quarters battle (CQB) or close-quarters combat (CQ) should be apprehended as a type of fighting, in which small groups could engage the enemy only with personal weapons at very short distance, closely to the point of hand-to-hand combat (Miller, Vandome, & McBrewster, 2009).
  • Stunning process. The use of stun grenades should be identified as the most effective tactical decision in the counterterrorist armory of the SAS (Chant, 1997). The so-called “flash-bangs” being initially elaborated by the SAS Regiment at Hereford suited well to hostage-rescue operations because of their small size and non-lethal effects. A stun grenade (“flash-bang”) contained magnesium powder and fulminate of mercury, which could produce an extremely loud noise and blinding flash, causing a high level of physical and psychological disorientation for up to 45 seconds and providing the opportunity for the assailants to disable the terrorist (Chant, 1997).
  • The use of CS gas. It should be admitted that the SAS units started storming the Iranian Embassy only after the CS gas was distributed around the building. According to Haberfeld and Von Lassel (2009), CS should be comprehended as the composite name for “orthochloribenzylidene malononitrile”, a substance, which could inflict tearing on people. The researchers express confidence that CS gas should be regarded as a non-lethal tactical tool, capable of nonpermanent damages.
  • The arms and equipment. According to Chris Chant (1997), the SAS hostage-rescue trooper at the Iranian Embassy in May, 1980, was wearing “a black Nomex, flame-resistant assault suit, Kevlar armor and respirator” (p. 82). Moreover, a note should be made that the primary weapon, used by the assailants, was the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun. In Chris Chant’s opinion, the most noticeable advantage of MP5 was the comfort of firing from a closed-bolt position (Chant, 1997). Also, it should be added that during the assault of the Iranian Embassy, the SAS operators were equipped with Browning High Power handguns, carrying 14-round box magazines. Additionally, the SAS operators were equipped with Remington 870 pump action shotgun. The aforesaid shotgun, being a civilian weapon, proved effective in close combat (Chant, 1997).
  • The use of snipers. According to Chris Chant (1997), the SAS made use of snipers for two discrepant reasons. The first was in “Conventional Warfare”. The second was for counter-revolutionary and hostage-rescue operations (Chant, 1997). It should be taken into account that the SAS snipers used L42 sniper rifles until 1982. Later on, L96A1 bolt-action rifle entered SAS service.    

Learnt lessons

As the foregoing discussion must suggest, the SAS “Operation Nimrod” should be analyzed in the framework of the consequently learnt lessons.

  1. Duration of the siege. First of all, it might be appropriate to ascertain that the siege lasted six days. It should be claimed that the long duration of the siege was a very negative factor. Taking into account that the crisis in the Iranian Embassy was accompanied by the hostage situation, it is possible to assert that every dangerous conflict, involving hostages, should be resolved as quickly as possible because people’s lives would depend on the parties, which participated in the crisis. Also, it should be claimed that the delaying policy of the government with regard to the siege could incite the terrorists to kill hostages. The negative consequence of a long siege should be exemplified by the death of Abbas Lavasani. To sum up, the authorities should resolve every crisis, involving hostages, as fast as possible in order to save lives of innocent people.
  2. Protection of politically important buildings. As far as the hostage crisis at Prince’s Gate is concerned, it might be relevant to draw attention to the fact that the Iranian Embassy in London was not effectively protected in 1980. Trevor Lock, a police constable of the Diplomatic Protection Group, was a single man responsible for the protection of people in the Embassy. It should be conceded that, at the moment of crisis, one person was incapable to stop six heavily armed terrorists.
  3. Contraband of weapons. According to Gregory Fremont-Barnes (2009), the weapons, used by the terrorists during the crisis, infiltrated into the United Kingdom in the Iraqi diplomatic bag. It means that diplomatic mail could be the easiest as well as invisible way of contraband. In order to prevent the similar situations, relevant amendments to the diplomatic legislation should be made.
  4. Shoot on sight. Another lesson, learnt by the authorities during the hostage crisis at Prince’s Gate, was that the terrorists should be shot on sight. The precondition to such a violent and rapid use of deadly force was the priority of hostage rescue. If the terrorist were not shot on sight, it could endanger lives of the hostages. On the other hand, the SAS operators should not risk their lives, allowing the terrorists to start firing on them, to maneuver or flee.  
  5. Modification of the police. According to Paul Wilkinson (2006), the operation had affirmed the value of tight “police - army” coordination as well as a joint planning and performing crisis administration and hostage rescue. Also, the author reckons that the police should be taught more about the peculiarities and complexities of such sieges in order to become a self-sufficient and capable agency in the field of counterterrorism and hostage rescue.
  6. General prevention. Thanks to the professional performance of the operation at Prince’s Gate, other similar terrorist organizations have learnt the lesson that they would be treated by the British government in the same manner. Thus, many of them were deterred from trying to takeover an embassy in the United Kingdom.
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Benefits and drawbacks

Taking everything into consideration, it is possible to reckon that the operation was successful, in general. According to Nigel Cawthorne (2011), the action lasted 17 minutes. It means that the operation was relatively swift and well-coordinated. Of the 26 hostages, 2 died, 5 had been released, and 19 were evacuated after the assault. In this connection, the survival of such a large number of hostages should be indebted either to the professionalism of the SAS operators or to the poor skills and preparation of the terrorists. Maybe, both of the aforesaid factors affected the settlement of the crisis. In addition, “the SAS, who were expecting 40 percent casualties, had three wounded” (Cawthorne, 2011, p. 70).

Besides, it might be relevant to examine that the operation was not devoid of drawbacks. Therefore, it is apparent that the biggest disadvantageous thing of the long siege and deadly assault was the death of two hostages. Abbas Lavasani, the first unlucky hostage, was killed during the siege of the Embassy due to the delaying negotiations. Ali Akbar Samadzadeh, the second unlucky hostage, was killed during the assault.

Apart from the above, it should be claimed that the huge destructions, caused by the assault to the building of the Iranian Embassy, was also a big drawback of the operation. The assault, in which a large number of deadly weaponry as well as CS gas and stun grenades was used, was comprehensively destructive for both the interior and some parts of the building’s exterior.

In the final analysis, it seems reasonable to emphasize that the long planning, elaborating and deciding on the operation was the most significant drawback. The hostage crisis at Prince’s Gate was the first full-scale hostage situation for the United Kingdom, and, therefore, a careful and diligent planning was sufficient. However, the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) had spent too much time on deciding upon the most reliable method of settling the crisis. Finally, the participants of COBR gave priority to the assault. Such decision could be produced in much shorter period time.

Recommendations and suggestions

The circumstances of hostage crisis at Prince’s Gate of 1980 should be taken into account by the authorities of different countries, while augmenting their counterterrorist policies and measures. A wide range of recommendations, directed towards the prevention of similar conflicts in the future, should be elaborated. The recommendations and suggestions could be explicated as follows:

The role of the police in counterterrorist operations should be enhanced by creating special police units. As far as the police are concerned, it might be appropriate to mention that, in 1980, the United Kingdom had no special police units, which could be capable to settle any situation, involving hostage rescue. However, some countries had specifically created subdivisions inside their law enforcement agencies, which were composed of specially trained officers. The officers of the special police units could be capable to perform extremely risky and dangerous operations such as hostage rescue and counterterrorism. The fact is that the SAS was always a military organization, which did not always cooperate with the local police and the metropolitan police service, in particular.

According to Gregory Fremont-Barnes (2009), the decision of the Prime Minister to sign over control of the street of London to the military was genuinely controversial. The essence of military operations, which were conducted by the SAS, consisted in their deadly consequences. The SAS and other Army Special Forces were designed to kill and eliminate enemies as well as destruct and annihilate material targets. The SAS was incapable to enforce law in the same manner like the police did.

In comparison, it should be clarified that the United States special law enforcement was always represented by the SWAT teams. The essence of the SWAT consisted in its non-military parentage and tight linkage with the local police. According to Christopher D. Goranson (2003), each member of a SWAT unit could possess different duties. Thus, a SWAT team’s traditional five-person unit was titled an element (Gorason, 2003). The element was always composed of a team leader, a scout, a rear guard, and two assaulters. Each of them had specific skills and responsibilities. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) SWAT should be exemplified as a very dynamic and coordinated service.

The core responsibility of the leader consisted in the initial and sudden entry, while the assaulters provided support and secured the cleared areas. In particular situations, a sniper, a spotter and other additional law enforcement personnel might assist the element.

In this connection, it is necessary to lay a special emphasis upon the fact that the SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) was originally designed to enforce law and not eliminate hostiles, nor destroy property. The SWAT officers were the policemen who acted skillfully in close-quarters combat. Their principle objectives were to rescue and arrest. They were properly trained to use all peculiar tactics and equipment in order to succeed in their missions. Moreover, the SWAT teams were designed to respond as rapidly as possible to every menacing situation because of their close tights with the local police services.

As far as the hostage crisis at Prince’s Gate in 1980 is concerned, it is possible to notice that the assault, conducted by the SAS, was rough and deadly, notwithstanding the undeniable success of hostage rescue. A note should be made that the SAS allowed 40 per cent casualty rate. If the terrorists had been more prepared and ruthless, they would have killed much more hostages, gathered in one place, in the telex room of the Iranian Embassy.

The security in embassies should be augmented. Hostage incident at Prince’s Gate of 1980 had demonstrated that the Iranian Embassy was not properly guarded. Trevor Lock, a Diplomatic Protection Group constable, was a single man responsible for the protection of the Embassy. Therefore, the terrorists managed to suppress the resistance without effort. In many countries, diplomatic establishments were protected by special service. Thus, a Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG), being formed in the United Kingdom in 1974, functioned under the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Service (Hunsicker, 2007). According to the author, all known principles of protection needed to be implemented in every relevant case, notwithstanding the matter of how innovative and plentiful the newly created services of the security industry were. Therefore, in augmenting security in embassies, the authorities were obliged to take into consideration the following:

-         to provide a clear determination of the actual threats;

-         to designate potential vulnerabilities;

-         to conduct a careful analysis and planning;

-         to implement a well-elaborated plan;

-         to decide on advance security arrangements;

-         to make decisions on total awareness and provision of a secure and safe environment.

In view of the above, it might be appropriate to agree with the author that the matter of security could play crucial role in dangerous and threatening situations. The researcher elaborates on the concept of executive security, which could be limited to particular executives, but available and applicable to any person (group of persons) with the need of personal security (Hunsicker, 2007). Also, neither a threat, nor an enemy should be underestimated.

Taking into account the hostage crisis at Prince’s Gate in 1980, it should be ascertained that six heavily armed men with cloth, pulled tightly around their heads, had burst into the building with weapons drawn without hindrance (Fremont-Barnes, 2009). This fact could mean that there was no sufficient security equipment capable to stop the intruders. If the terrorists were initially stopped, a properly instructed personnel of the Embassy would have some chance to escape and evade the danger of been captured.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the terrorists reached police constable Trevor Lock, from the Diplomatic Protection Group, who was standing on guard “by the door to reception at the bottom of stairs” (Fremont-Barnes, 2009, p. 18). In view of the above, it is apparent that the security in the Iranian Embassy was poor. One professional law enforcer was incapable to stop six heavily armed terrorists. Also, it was obvious that Trevor Lock was standing by the door to the reception and no security points had been designed in the Embassy.

In the final analysis, it seems prudent to generalize that the factor of security could be very substantial in a case of danger. A highly important political essence of an embassy required from the authorities to provide a diligent security there, because a seizure of an embassy could mean a challenge to the state. All demands, expressed by the terrorists, who seized an embassy, would carry inevitably political significance for both countries: for the terrorists’ homeland and for the state, where the embassy was located.


After everything has been given due consideration, it is possible to make certain conclusions. First of all, it should be claimed that the raid against the terrorists in the Iranian Embassy, conducted by the SAS, was a true success of a counterterrorist and hostage rescue mission, notwithstanding delaying negotiations and a long-lasting siege of the building.

Also, it might be appropriate to notice that the research hypothesis was verified as true. Being a purely military organization, the SAS was actually deprived of the features of a law enforcement agency. The SAS was highly capable in the domain of close-quarters combat, counterterrorism and hostage rescue. However, it could not function as the police. The SAS operators relied on the deadly force, rather than special weapons and tactics. They were not going to arrest the terrorists for further prosecution and trial. Their 40 per cent casualty rate was very high and inadmissible in the domain of law enforcement. Nonetheless, the operation was very successful.

In the same manner, it should be generalized that the research objectives were completely reached:

  1. The terrorism-counterterrorism incident at Prince’s Gate was examined.
  2. A brief background of the incident was produced.
  3. The terrorists’ motives to create the hostage situation in the Iranian Embassy were ascertained.
  4. The actors, involved in the incident, were clarified.
  5. The counterterrorism tactics and tools, involved in the incident, were depicted.
  6. The lessons, learnt due to the incident, were outlined.
  7. The critique of rights and wrongs with regard to the incident was conducted.
  8. The relevant suggestions and recommendations were made.

To conclude with, the hostage crisis of 1980 was the first terrorist challenge in the UK.


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