Canadian Diplomat Who Sheltered Americans in 1979 Iran Dies

“It would have been nice if the story was told correctly because basically, if the Canadians weren’t there to help, who knows what would have happened to those Americans.”


Erica Ritz
The Blaze

This Jan. 27, 1981 photo shows John Sheardown in Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo: AP)

This Jan. 27, 1981 photo shows John Sheardown in Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo: AP)

John Sheardown, a former Canadian diplomat who sheltered fugitive American Embassy staffers at his Tehran home at great personal risk during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, has died. He was 88.

His wife Zena said Saturday that Sheardown passed away in an Ottawa hospital on Dec. 30, but has now spoken with the Associated Press about her husband’s life and accomplishments.

Sheardown, the First Secretary at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran at the time of the Islamic Revolution, played a key role in the events depicted in Ben Affleck’s Oscar-contender film “Argo” — although he was not portrayed in the film.

Almost a week after militant Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days in retaliation for U.S. support for the recently deposed shah, the Canadian diplomat received a call from one of the six Americans who had managed to evade capture. American consular officer Robert Anders was calling his friend Sheardown for help.

“`What [took] you so long?’” was Sheardown’s reply, said his wife Zena.

After that phone call, the Sheardowns agreed without hesitation to shelter four of the six Americans in secrecy in their 20-room house in Tehran. Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor, housed the other two Americans.

“It would have been selfish for us not to do so,” Zena Sheardown told The Associated Press from her current home in Ottawa, Ontario. “There weren’t many places to hide in Iran, we had the room, they needed our help and it was just not in John’s nature to refuse help to anyone.”…

The article continues, with video, at The Blaze.


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