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Iran president makes no secret that he is a professional
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makes no secret that he is a professional
by Amir Taheri posted 5.July "THE PREZ & THE HIT
winner in Iran's recent presidential election,
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, makes no secret that he is a
professional revolutionary, having spent all his
adult years in the service of the Khomeinist
movement. But was he the chief interrogator of
American diplomats held hostage during the
occupation of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979-80?
And was he involved in the assassination of three
dissident Kurdish leaders in Vienna in 1989?
On the basis of much research, it is almost certain
that Ahmadinejad was not directly involved in the
embassy episode. But it is equally clear that he was
present when the three Kurdish leaders were gunned
down in a hit ordered from Tehran.
Kurdish Leader Dr.Abdul-Rahman Qasimlo 1989 ┼
Photo: Kurd Net Archive
allegation that Ahmadinejad was one of the
hostage-holders at the U.S. Embassy is based on an
Associated Press photo unearthed and published hours
after the election on a Web site supporting his
opponent. In it, a bearded youth holding the arm of
a blindfolded American is identified as Ahmadinejad.
But it is not: The man in the photo has almost
slanted eyes, with eyebrows that point upwards.
Ahmadinejad, however, has almond eyes with almost
And the man in the photo has been identified as
Jaafar Zaker, one of the student leaders during the
embassy raid. Zaker's younger brother Mohsen told
journalists in Tehran that he recognized his
brother, who died in the Iran-Iraq war in 1984.
That Ahmadinejad was not personally involved in the
hostages drama is also borne out by his denials.
After all, it is almost certain that if Ahmadinejad
had been involved he would have trumpeted the fact
as part of his "glorious" Khomeinist background.
Instead, he has always said that he was opposed to
the embassy raid because he saw it as a manoeuvre by
the pro-Soviet left to provoke a clash with the U.S.
and force the new regime into Moscow's arms.
The occupied U.S. Embassy in Tehran was a seeding
ground for a new generation of radicals thirsting
for action to gain revolutionary credentials. Of the
400 or so students involved, nearly half died in the
eight-year war against Iraq. The rest had differing
fortunes. A few dozen (including Ali Ranjbaran, who
has been identified as the second youth in the
photo) were executed after being linked with leftist
groups. Some lapsed into an eclipse produced by
disillusionment, or joined the regime's loyal
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