June 29, 2005

State Sponsor of Terror Has Terrorist as President: President Elect of Iran Involved in U.S. Embassy Hostage Takings (UPDATED)

CRITICAL UPDATE 7/01: Have we been looking at the wrong man in the photos below? New information suggests that this may be the case. See this post here.
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President Elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran today.

Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad.jpg

President Elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran in 1979 with an American hostage.

Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_hostages2.jpg

UPDATE: Let's just put the photoshop argument to rest. Tim of Four Right Wing Whackos drops this link in the comments to a book about the Hostage Crisis.

If you have any more photos, please send them to me or e-mail me a link.


Iran Focus:

The identity of Ahmadinejad in the photograph was revealed to Iran Focus by a source in Tehran, whose identity could not be revealed for fear of persecution.
Some are questioning the authenticity of the photos, saying that they are photoshopped. However, given the fact that they are from multiple sources and that multiple biographies of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad all claim he was a leader in the group that masterminded the hostage takings, these gainsayers' objections should be dismissed.

Who is Ahmadinejad? Iran Focus:

After finishing high school, Ahmadinejad went to Elm-o Sanaat University in 1975 to study engineering. Soon the whirlwind of Islamic revolution led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini swept him from the classroom to the mosque and he joined a generation of firebrand Islamic fundamentalists dedicated to the cause of an Islamic world revolution.

Student activists in Elm-o Sanaat University at the time of the Iranian revolution were dominated by ultra-conservative Islamic fundamentalists. Ahmadinejad soon became one of their leaders and founded the Islamic Students Association in that university after the fall of the Shah’s regime.

In 1979, he became the representative of Elm-o Sanaat students in the Office for Strengthening of Unity Between Universities and Theological Seminaries, which later became known as the OSU. The OSU was set up by Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, who was at the time Khomeini’s top confidant and a key figure in the clerical leadership. Beheshti wanted the OSU to organise Islamist students to counter the rapidly rising influence of the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) among university students.

The OSU played a central role in the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran in November 1979. Members of the OSU central council, who included Ahmadinejad as well as Ibrahim Asgharzadeh, Mohsen (Mahmoud) Mirdamadi, Mohsen Kadivar, Mohsen Aghajari, and Abbas Abdi, were regularly received by Khomeini himself.

According to other OSU officials, when the idea of storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran was raised in the OSU central committee by Mirdamadi and Abdi, Ahmadinejad suggested storming the Soviet embassy at the same time. A decade later, most OSU leaders re-grouped around Khatami but Ahmadinejad remained loyal to the ultra-conservatives.

Iran focus again:
Former OSU officials involved in the takeover of the U.S. embassy said Ahmadinejad was in charge of security during the occupation, a key role that put him in direct contact with the nascent security organizations of the clerical regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, which he later joined....

Defectors from the clerical regime’s security forces have revealed that Ahmadinejad led the firing squads that carried out many of the executions. He personally fired coup de grace shots at the heads of prisoners after their execution and became known as “Tir Khalas Zan” (literally, the Terminator).

Hat tip: Ron

Al Jazeera:

As a young student, Ahmadinejad joined an ultraconservative faction of the Office for Strengthening Unity, the radical student group spawned by the 1979 Islamic Revolution and staged the capture of the US Embassy.

According to reports, Ahmadinejad attended planning meetings for the US Embassy takeover and at these meetings lobbied for a simultaneous takeover of the Soviet Embassy.

Fjordman:
In 1986, Ahmadinejad became a senior officer in the Special Brigade of the Revolutionary Guards and was stationed in Ramazan Garrison near Kermanshah in western Iran. In Kermanshah, Ahmadinejad became involved in the clerical regime’s terrorist operations abroad.
And if that isn't enough, there is this from The BBC yesterday:
As soon as I saw a picture of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's new president, I knew there was something faintly familiar about him.

And it was not because he was mayor of Tehran, because, like many other Western journalists, I have been barred from visiting Iran in recent years.

Then, when I read a profile of him in the English-language Tehran Times, I realised where I must have seen him: in the former American embassy in Tehran.

Ahmadinejad was a founder of the group of young activists who swarmed over the embassy wall and held the diplomats and embassy workers hostage for 444 days.

Somewhere in the BBC archives is the interview I recorded with him and his colleagues, long after the siege was over. They all seemed rather similar - quiet, polite, but with a burning zeal.


UPDATE: The evidence just keeps pouring in. Pikamax over at Free Republic posts this link to an Editor & Publisher article (yeah, I linked them, even though they've dissed me in the past--I'm nice men):
A quarter-century after they were taken captive in Iran, five former American hostages say they got an unexpected reminder of their 444-day ordeal in the bearded face of Iran's new president-elect.

Watching coverage of Iran's presidential election on television dredged up 25-year-old memories that prompted four of the former hostages to exchange e-mails. And those four realized they shared the same conclusion -- the firm belief that President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been one of their Iranian captors.

"This is the guy. There's no question about it," said former hostage Chuck Scott, a retired Army colonel who lives in Jonesboro, Ga. "You could make him a blond and shave his whiskers, put him in a zoot suit and I'd still spot him."

Scott and former hostages David Roeder, William J. Daugherty and Don A. Sharer said on Wednesday they have no doubt Ahmadinejad, 49, was one of the hostage-takers. A fifth ex-hostage, Kevin Hermening, said he reached the same conclusion after looking at photos.

Not everyone agrees. Former hostage and retired Air Force Col. Thomas E. Schaefer said he doesn't recognize Ahmadinejad, by face or name, as one of his captors.

Several former students among the hostage-takers also said Ahmadinejad did not participate. And a close aide to Ahmadinejad denied the president-elect took part in the seizure of the embassy or in holding Americans hostage.

Ahmadinejad, though, denies the allegations, even though he was a top official in the organization that led hostage standoff. Other hostages don't recall seeing Ahmadinejad. But here's more:
"I can absolutely guarantee you he was not only one of the hostage-takers, he was present at my personal interrogation," Roeder said in an interview from his home in Pinehurst, N.C.

Daugherty, who worked for the CIA in Iran and now lives in Savannah, said a man he's convinced was Ahmadinejad was among a group of ringleaders escorting a Vatican representative during a visit in the early days of the hostage crisis.

"It's impossible to forget a guy like that," Daugherty said. "Clearly the way he acted, the fact he gave orders, that he was older, most certainly he was one of the ringleaders."

Oh there's more, much much more......

Another update: MSM now reporting this. I'm listenning to the radio and ABC News is reporting that hostages recognize the man in photo as Iran's President-elect.....

Apparently, the Editor and Publisher piece is really an AP news story. Here is some more of it as reported by The Guardian:

``He kind of stayed in the background most of the time,'' Scott said. ``But he was in on some of the interrogations. And he was in on my interrogation at the time they were working me over.''

Scott also recalled an incident while he was held in the Evin prison in north Tehran in the summer of 1980.

One of the guards, whom Scott called Akbar, would sometimes let Scott and Sharer out to walk the narrow, 20-foot hallway outside their cells, he said. One day, Scott said, the man he believes was Ahmadinejad saw them walking and chastised the guard.

``He was the security chief, supposedly,'' Scott said. ``When he found out Akbar had let us out of our cells at all, he chewed out Akbar. I speak Farsi. He said, `These guys are dogs they're pigs, they're animals. They don't deserve to be let out of their cells.'''

Scott recalled responding to the man's stare by openly cursing his captor in Farsi. ``He looked a little flustered like he didn't know what to do. He just walked out.''

Roeder said he's sure Ahmadinejad was present during one of his interrogations when the hostage-takers threatened to kidnap his son in the U.S. and ``start sending pieces - toes and fingers of my son - to my wife.''

``It was almost like he was checking on the interrogation techniques they were using in a sort of adviser capacity,'' Roeder said.

Hermening, of Mosinee, Wis., the youngest of the hostages, said that after he looked at photos and did research on the Internet, he came to the conclusion that Ahmadinejad was one of his questioners.

Hermening had been Marine guard at the embassy, and he recalled the man he believes was Ahmadinejad asking him for the combination to a safe.

``His English would have been fairly strong. I couldn't say that about all the guards,'' Hermening said. ``I remember that he was certainly direct, threatening, very unfriendly.''

More from Gateway Pundit and Charles Johnson who it looks like found the first pics.

Moon reminds us: "Now, how quickly do you think the Ted Kennedy's and Diane Feinstein's will start complaining about Bush's inability to deal with this guy?"

Thanks to Captain Ed for the link, and check out his spot on analysis:

With all of this already out in the open, having the mullahcracy twist the recent election to put an experienced terror operative as their head of state really doesn't amount to a big surprise. And given Hashemi Rafsanjani's track record, that result was inevitable anyway.
Ace has similar thoughts:
Eh. Not too surprising coming from Iran.
Oh, and this is classic from MJ Pechar:
It would be hard to dispute the contention that Iran is a terrorist nation when the "population" just elected a known terrorist as president. By any reasonable measure of justice, Ahmadinejad should be in prison, not the presidential palace.
Of course, that's assuming that the population really elected this guy. Remember, it's who counts the votes that matters in the end.

Others: Hal.co.net, Dr. Zin, All Things Conservative, Jimgoism, Iran News Blog, Watcher Magazine, Solomania, Polipundit, Oxrant, Emergent Chaos

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By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:22 PM | Comments |