Insider Quote: What Diplomacy Is All About

John Limbert was one of 100 Americans held hostage after Iranian students took control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Limbert is a former U.S. ambassador and distinguished professor of international affairs at the U.S. Naval Academy. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) correspondent Heather Maher asked him for his reflections on the 30th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

RFE/RL: How do you think your time as a hostage in Iran changed you?

“Well, I really don’t know, specifically. I mean, I’m the worst person to ask this, you’d have to ask maybe my family members or colleagues.

But I think a couple things came out of it. One, I think I got a new appreciation for our own profession — that is, the profession of diplomacy. And the idea of how do you solve problems between nations and between people? Because at the end of the day, that’s what diplomacy is all about, and the importance of that process. Because if that process breaks down, you essentially have anarchy, of the kind that we encountered in Tehran in ’79.”

John Limbert
Former U.S. Ambassador to Mauritania

Former Embassy Hostage Says He Was ‘Wrong’ About Iran’s Revolution
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
February 6, 2009