Why did a handful of Iranian students seize the American embassy in Tehran in November 1979? Why did most members of the US government initially believe that the incident would be over quickly? Why did the Carter administration then decide to launch a rescue mission, and why did it fail so spectacularly? US Foreign Policy and the Iran Hostage Crisis examines these puzzles and others, using an analogical reasoning approach to decision-making, a theoretical perspective which highlights the role played by historical analogies in the genesis of foreign policy decisions. Using interviews with key decision-makers on both sides, Houghton provides an analysis of one of the United States' greatest foreign policy disasters, the events of which continue to poison relations between the two states. The book will be of interest to students and scholars of foreign policy analysis and international relations.