L. Bruce Laingen, top US diplomat held in Iran, dies at 96

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top American diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran when it was overrun by Iranian protesters in 1979 has died. L. Bruce Laingen (LAYNG’-ehn) was 96.

Laingen’s son Chip says his father died Monday in Bethesda, Maryland.

Laingen was one of 52 Americans held hostage for more than a year during the U.S.-Iranian standoff that hobbled Jimmy Carter’s presidency

Laingen went to Iran in June 1979 as chargé d’affaires for what was expected to be a short assignment. Protesters took over the embassy that November.

For 444 days, the plight of the American hostages was a daily news story — and a never-ending political drag for Carter.

Laingen was born and raised on a farm in southern Minnesota. Survivors include his wife, Penelope, and three sons.

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