William H. Sullivan | Last envoy to Iran, 90
As ambassador to Laos, William Sullivan controlled a secret U.S. bombing campaign against North Vietnamese troops moving through Laotian territory along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He played an important role in initiating the opening of discussions that led to the Paris peace talks.
He was named ambassador to Iran in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter at a time that restive Iranians were growing tired of the rule of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini, the exiled revolutionary leader, returned to Iran, and revolutionary forces toppled the monarchy.
Mr. Sullivan and some of his staff were briefly held hostage and left Iran soon afterward. He retired from the Foreign Service later in 1979. His hostage experience came nine months before the seizure of hostages at the U.S. Embassy that lasted from November 1979 to the end of the Carter presidency Jan. 20, 1981. - AP