Friday, October 16, 2015

The Passing of a Hero - Ken Taylor

Ken Taylor has died at 81

The Canadian ambassador who helped six American diplomats escape after the US embassy in Tehran was stormed by Iranian revolutionaries in 1979 has died, his family has said.  Ken Taylor was 81 and died in hospital in New York.

Ken Taylor played a key role in sneaking the diplomats out of Iran using Canadian passports and forged Iranian visas.

The crisis began when revolutionary students stormed the embassy taking about 50 American hostages.  Six members of the American Diplomatic Corps were able to get to the Canadian Embassy.  Taylor kept the Americans hidden at his residence and at the home of his deputy, John Sheardown, in Tehran for three months. Taylor facilitated their escape by arranging plane tickets and persuading the Ottawa government to issue fake passports.

Mr Taylor was praised by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday, who described him as "valiantly risking his life by shielding a group of American diplomats from capture".

"Ken Taylor represented the very best that Canada's foreign service has to offer," Mr Harper said.