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In pictures: Iran hostage crisis
Diplomatic efforts

Freeing the hostages became a priority for the administration of US President Jimmy Carter (pictured with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance) - but there was little to be done beyond ineffective economic sanctions.

Mr Carter pledged to preserve the lives of the hostages and conducted intense diplomacy to secure their release.

But his failure ultimately contributed to his losing the presidency to Ronald Reagan in 1980.

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