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Canadian diplomat who sheltered Americans during 1979 Tehran hostage crisis dies

John Sheardown is shown in Ottawa, Jan. 27, 1981. Sheardown, who helped six American diplomats escape from Iran in 1980, died in hospital on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. He was 88 years old. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Mitchell

A former Canadian diplomat who sheltered Americans during 1979 Tehran hostage crisis died on Sunday at the age of 88, his widow said on Saturday.

John Sheardown played a key role in how six diplomats escaped the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran at the height of Iran’s Islamic revolution. The six took diplomats took refuge in the homes of the Canadian ambassador and Sheardown, the embassy’s No. 2 official.

The events were depicted in the Ben Affleck movie “Argo”.

The diplomats were smuggled out of Iran in 1979 under the unlikely guise of a fake movie production.

The U.S. role in the mission was kept under wraps until it was declassified by U.S. President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.

The United States has not had a functioning embassy in Iran since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, when 52 Americans were held for 444 days.