December 15, 1980 – Turning Oil Into Gold – Turning Central Park Into Strawberry Fields
December 15, 1980 – A day of war, strife, oil and remembrance.
Starting with news of a meeting of OPEC countries, meeting in Bali and the discussion was raising the price of a barrel of Crude Oil. This time the excuse was the Iran-Iraq War along with the 50 American hostages still at the Embassy in Tehran.
Amid the bucolic surroundings, the OPEC conference was a serious affair, with the price of Crude Oil climbing to $35.00 a barrel by the end of 1981. The official price, as of this day was $32.00, but Saudi Arabia had been charging much less. It wasn’t clear whether or not the Conference would adopt the $35 figure, it would cause the price of a gallon of gas in the U.S. to go up at least $.05 a gallon. Earlier in the Conference, Iran staged a protest, saying the Iranian Oil Minister had been taken prisoner by Iraqi forces during the ongoing war. The Iraqi oil minister did not respond to the Iranian protest. Indonesian President Suharto, host of the Conference, urged Iran and Iraq to end their war as soon as possible in the interests of Islamic unity.
The saga of the 50 American hostages in Iran continued, with a press conference given by Iranian President Banisadr in which the moderate President said the key to the release of the hostages was the unfreezing of Iranian assets in American banks, not the return of The Shah’s wealth. The hope was the quick return of some $7 billion in frozen Iranian assets. The hostages were heading into their 408th day of captivity
And New York’s Central Park became Strawberry Fields, when thousands and thousands of people gathered in Central Park for a memorial to John Lennon, who was shot and killed only a week earlier, just blocks away from the site of the gathering, observing ten minutes of silence.
And that’s a small slice of what happened, this December 15, 1980 – as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.