Laingen steps from the plane carrying the freed hostages to their official welcome in Washington.
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L. Bruce Laingen, the top American diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran when it was overrun by Iranian protesters in 1979 and one of 52 Americans held hostage for more than a year, has died.When U.S. Ambassador William Sullivan stepped down in early 1979, the U.S. sought a short-term leader for its Tehran Embassy as the U.S. considered its diplomatic presence in the country, Laingen recalled for a 1992 oral history for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.Laingen was a member of the U.S. Foreign Service from 1950 to 1987, serving in Germany, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan before being named U.S. ambassador to Malta in 1977 .Looking back on the ordeal 25 years later, Laingen told the AP in 2004 that it didn't make sense for the U.S. to have little dialogue with Iran given the American stake in the Middle East.
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