On Happening Now today, Jenna Lee spoke with Don Cooke, who was taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, exactly 33 years ago. Cooke was 24 at the time and one of four officers at the embassy when it was overrun by Islamic militants.

Cooke described the 444-day hostage crisis and discussed the current state of affairs between the United States and Iran. Protesters took to the streets in Iran in recent days to mark the occasion, and denounce America.

Cooke said the crisis started during a period - under President Jimmy Carter - of "ambivalent" foreign policy toward the Middle East. He said

only after the election of Ronald Reagan did the Iranian government realize the U.S. was serious and release the hostages.

"At this point, (Iran) sees ambivalence in the U.S. foreign policy and they don't see any particular reason to stop (their nuclear program). ... The sanctions are starting to bite, but I wish we had gone to these very punishing sanctions a bit earlier. Maybe we might see results by now," Cooke said.

In the second part of the discussion, Cooke was asked about the tragedy that occurred in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11th, in which four Americans were killed in a terror attack at the poorly secured U.S. Consulate and nearby CIA annex.

Part 2: