The US embassy in Iran was taken by storm on November 4, 1979 when Iranian militants seized and took sixty-six American members hostage. This hostile event stemmed from Iran's demand that the US return their deposed Shah. The US immediately engaged in economic sanctioning tactics to ensure the safe return of the hostages. Although authors like Renwick deem such methods as ineffective, Baldwin's argument assesses the situation and demonstrates how economic statecraft positioned the US so that the hostages were returned home safely, and American resolve was kept firm.
By the14th of November, economic sanctions against Iran included: cutting off exports of military spare parts and imports of Iranian oil, and freezing over 12 billion dollars of Iranian assets. Baldwin begins his analysis by stating US primary objectives with regard to economic statecraft. The first was to demonstrate US resolve to resist blackmail, while the second aimed for a quick and safe return home for the hostages.
Although policy makers disagreed on the order of precedence, most authors assume the later to have more importance. Baldwin also highlights the intended effects because he feels these have relevance in understanding the goal of the sender state. Getting Iran's attention to recognize the seriousness behind US actions seemed prevalent to policy makers: "this crisis calls for firmness and it calls or restraint. I thought depriving them of 12 billion in assets was a good way to get their attention" (Baldwin, 252). Economic sanction against Iran intended to send a message: the US would not stand for Iran's behavior, but wanted a safe and peaceful resolution.
Baldwin introduces secondary goals by the US. These goals are crucial in understanding the long term effects desired when imposing economic sanctions. The immediate goals, Baldwin believes, cannot be achieved unless secondary goals are put in place.