Talk:Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the 1979 hostage crisis

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Removal of very serious and completely unsourced charges from the intro[edit]

I have removed these serious and unsourced charges from the intro of this article. It is ridiculous to keep such serious charges when there are no sources to back them up, especially in this prominent place. I ask that you have respect for Wikipedia's principles of RS, V and OR and refrain from adding back such serious charges when there are no sources to back them up. This is the sentence that I have removed twice now:

In July of 2005, US President George W. Bush declared that these charges were serious and that the US Department of State [citation needed] and Homeland Security [citation needed] have stated that the Iranian President was one of the students who took over the US Embassy in November 1979.

--Lucretius (talk) 01:44, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

The wording is a little bit confused, but I found references relatively easily. Please don't remove encyclopedic content from articles merely because it isn't sourced. — Omegatron 02:41, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Omegatron wrote: "Please don't remove encyclopedic content from articles merely because it isn't sourced." You clearly do not understand the principles of Wikipedia. The above information that I removed was both unsourced and inaccurate. That is exactly what people should remove from Wikipedia. One of the first things I did was to read through WP:V and it helped me understand how Wikipedia works. I will quote from here (
The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material. All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged should be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation.[1] The source should be cited clearly and precisely to enable readers to find the text that supports the article content in question.
If no reliable, third-party sources can be found for an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it.
Any edit lacking a reliable source may be removed, but editors may object if you remove material without giving them a chance to provide references. If you want to request a source for an unsourced statement, consider moving it to the talk page. Alternatively, you may tag a sentence by adding the { { fact } } template, a section with { { unreferencedsection } }, or the article with { { refimprove } } or { { unreferenced } }. Use the edit summary to give an explanation of your edit. You may also leave a note on the talk page or an invisible HTML comment on the article page.[2]
You'll notice that initially I put fact tags (prior to the merge) and then I removed the section after no one provided sources. I also moved the section to the talk page. I have been following Wikipedia principles on this matter very close to the letter, thus your admonishment is quite out of place and indicates that you should spend some time to read through WP:V, a core Wikipedia guideline. That said, the current replacement text (which I accept) says something quite different that the above sentence I removed:
"On June 30, 2005, US President George W. Bush declared that these charges were serious.[1][2][3][4][5][6] The United States Department of Homeland Security initially found Ahmadeinjad ineligible for a visa to enter the US, citing "reason to believe" that he was involved in the seizure.[7] The US Department of State interviewed hostages about their experiences.[8]"
I am glad that our interaction here has resulted in the improvement of this section's precision. --Lucretius (talk) 17:32, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Is this Wikipedia page a propaganda piece for the ayatollah's boy or an encyclopedic article? Too much of this information is missing for this article to be taken seriously:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born into a blacksmith's family in Garmsar, near Tehran, on 28 October, 1956. He was one of seven children. He graduated from the University of Science and Technology in Tehran, where he gained a PhD in traffic and transport. He later lectured at the same university, and became mayor of Tehran in 2003. He was elected sixth president of Iran in elections held in June 2005, stepping into that role on August 6, 2005.

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.

His own website has carried his personal claim that he joined the Revolutionary Guards voluntarily after the 1979 revolution. He is said to have been involved in "covert operations" during the Iran/Iraq war which began on September 20, 1980 and ended August 20, 1988.

On November 4, 1979, fanatics stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, and more than 90 people were taken hostage. Some were released later, but for 52 captives, their ordeal did not end until 444 days later, when they were finally released on January 21, 1981. A mission to rescue the hostages failed when a US Hercules C130 cargo plane had a collision with a helicopter on April 25, 1980. Other helicopters had engine trouble. Nine US soldiers died. The failed rescue mission was a PR disaster for the administration of Jimmy Carter.

Several of the US hostages have since claimed that Ahmadinejad was directly involved in their kidnapping and also subsequent interrogations. Colonel David Roeder was Assistant Air Force Attaché at the US Embassy and was one of the long-term captives. He has insisted that not only was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad involved in the hostage-taking exercise, but that Ahmadinejad was involved in at least a third of his interrogations. Roeder claims that Ahmadinejad appeared to be "calling the shots" during questioning, and he personally threatened to kidnap Roeder's son and cut off his fingers and toes.

Roeder said: "They had me handcuffed to a chair and at least during the first few sessions, blindfolded as well. But once the blindfold came off, they had developed a plan that Ahmadinejad was instigating. Because I was not cooperating, they threatened that they were going to kidnap my handicapped son and send various pieces of him -- fingers and toes is what they mentioned -- to my wife if I didn't start cooperating. You don't forget somebody who is involved in something like that."

"...I do specifically remember him being there when they made the threat against my son. They not only knew that I lived in Alexandria, Virginia, but they also knew the street address. They knew what time my son was picked up by the school bus, they knew the bus number, they knew what time he was delivered back home in the afternoon and they knew what school he went to."

Retired army colonel Charles Scott was one of the 52 long-term hostages. He said shortly after Ahmadinejad was elected president: "This is the guy. There's no question about it. You could make him a blond and shave his whiskers, put him in a zoot suit and I'd still spot him." Three individuals who boast that they were hostage-takers - Mohsen Mirdamadi, their leader, as well as Abbas Abdi and Hamid Reza Jalaiepour - have denied that Ahmadinejad was involved in the kidnappings.

Don Sharer was naval attaché at the Embassy when he was taken hostage. He said: "As soon as I saw the face, it rang a lot of bells to me. Take 20 years off of him. He was there. He was there in the background, more like an adviser."

This description tallies with Roeder's account. Roeder had said: "He seemed to be calling the shots, but from the background." William Daugherty was another hostage, who had been with the CIA when kidnapped. He claimed: "I saw his picture in the Washington Post on Saturday morning, recognized it immediately and then sent an e-mail out to some of my former colleagues ... telling them what I thought and seeing what kind of responses they might have to it." He recollected "seeing him acting in a supervisory or leadership capacity during the first two and a half weeks, on the 19th day, I was moved into solitary confinement and had limited contact with even my Iranian guards after that."

The claims of these hostages were taken seriously by the White House. In 2005 Scott McClellan, press secretary at the White House, said: "We continue to look into it and establish all the facts. I don't think it should be a surprise to anyone if it turns out to be true. Given the nature of the regime and his own past, I don't think it should be surprising."

The detail provided by Colonel David Roeder, that the hostage-takers knew facts about his son's transport home from school, is disturbing. Since the start of the Iranian revolution, agents of the Islamic republic have killed dissidents abroad. Between 1979 and 1996, a total of 85 expatriate dissidents had been killed abroad, and 54 wounded. By 2004, the total of dissidents slain abroad had risen to more than 120. 34 of these assassinations had taken place in Europe. The locations of these attacks include London, Paris, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Turkey, the Philippines, Pakistan, Switzerland, Austria, Thailand, UAE, Lebanon, Iraq and India. To achieve these killings, Iran would have needed an extensive secret service abroad, almost certainly guided from its embassies in these countries.

Only one of these attacks took place in the United States. Ali Akbar Tabatabai had been a press attache to the Iranian Embassy in Washington, an employee of the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. When the revolution came, he was a vocal critic. He lived as an exile in Bethesda, Maryland. On the morning of July 22, 1980, he was shot three times in the stomach by a man posing as a postman. A few days before he was killed, someone jokingly suggested to Tabatabai's neighbors that they should erect a sign stating that they lived in their house, with an arrow pointing to that of the dissident.

Tabatabai's killer was a black convert to Islam who was born David Theodore Belfield. He went under the aliases Hassan Abdulrahman and Dawud Salahuddin. Belfield had contempt for American society. He fled to Iran immediately after the killing, and remains there, married to an Iranian wife. In 2001 he acted in an Iranian film called "Kandahar".

Belfield claimed in a 2002 interview with Ira Silverman that "In Islamic religious terms, taking a life is sometimes sanctioned and even highly praised, and I thought that event was just such a time." Belfield asserted in the interview that "someone in Washington" passed on instructions from the Iranian government for Tabatabai to be killed. He refuses to name his contact, but says he thinks he met him at an Iranian student center in Washington. This center was run by Bahram Nahidian but has since closed. Belfield attributes his radicalism to the influence of prominent Muslim Brotherhood member Said Ramadan (father of Tariq Ramadan).

The numerous assassinations of dissidents living outside of Iran do nothing to make the Iranian regime look like a "just" administration. The current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, admits that between 1980 and 1989 he was involved in "covert operations" connected with the Iran/Iraq war. It appears that his "covert operations" did not only include activities connected with the war, but also political assassinations.

A current article in World Politics Review describes an interview which originally appeared in Austrian weekly Profil in 2005. The interview involved an individual - an Iranian journalist who was living in France in 2005 - who claimed that Ahmadinejad was an accessory to murder.

The main target of the murder was 59-year old Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou (Ebdul Rehman Qasimlu), a Kurdish leader from Iran. In 1989, he was in Vienna, Austria. He had been elected the secretary-general of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) in 1973. After the fall of the Shah, many Kurdish communities in Iran declared their autonomy, and Ghassemlou became vilified by Ayatollah Khomeini as an "enemy of God".

The Iranian government made two attempts to have talks with the exiled PDKI leaders, in December 1988 in Vienna and again on January 20, 1989. Six months later, the Iranian government arranged another meeting, which would include Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou. The meeting again took place in Vienna, on July 12, 1989. The delegates representing Tehran were Mohammed Jafar Sahraroudi and Hadji Moustafawi, with a third man called Amir Mansur Bozorgian, who acted as a bodyguard. The Kurds were represented by Ghassemlou, along with his assistant Abdullah Ghaderi-Azar and Fadhil Rassoul, an Iraqi who acted as a mediator.

The meeting appeared to be constructive, and the three Kurds had little reason to expect what happened on the following day. The second day of talks ended up as a bloodbath, with the Iranian "delegates" firing three shots into Ghassemlou, eleven shots into his aide, and five gunshots at their mediator. All three died in the negotiating room.

One of the Iranian government agents, Sahraroudi, was slightly injured. Moustafawi escaped. Sahraroudi and Bozorgian were questioned by police and released. Bozorgian took refuge at the Iranian embassy in Vienna. It would not be until November 1989 that Austria finally announced warrants for the three Iranian agents, and accused Iran of the killing. By this time they had fled back to Iran.

Six days after Ghassemlou was killed, his deputy Sadegh Sharafkandi took his place as secretary-general of PDKI. Sharafkandi too would be assassinated by Iranian agents in 1992. On September 17 he was at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin, Germany, with three colleagues. The four were shot dead. In March 1996, the German federal prosecutor issued an international arrest warrant against Ali Fallahian, the Iranian intelligence minister, for the murder of Sharafkandi and his associates.

The exiled Iranian journalist, whose testimony is described in World Politics Review and Profil, is identified only as "witness D". He will not reveal his real identity, because of fears for the safety of his family who remain in Iran. Witness D maintains that when Sahraroudi was injured he was dragged out of the apartment building where the "negotiations" had taken place. The three men were met outside by a fourth man, who was riding a motorcycle. This man took one of the Iranian agents on his bike and sped off. According to "Witness D", this fourth man was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Witness D's information had come from Nasser Taghipoor, a general in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, who had been a family friend. He drowned in suspicious circumstances in 2002. Taghipoor had told Witness D about the involvement of Ahmadinejad shortly before he died. Taghipoor maintained that Ahmadinejad had been the contact between the team of assassins and the Iranian embassy in Vienna. He had also supplied the weapons for the assassination.

At the time of his telephone interview with Profil in 1996, "Witness D" said he had been contacted by the Austrian Interior Ministry, and was prepared to make a full report to officials, on the condition that his identity was kept secret.

Around the same time that Profil had published the interview, on July 2, 2005 a member of the Austrian Green party, Peter Pilz also made the same allegations in public. He had been in contact with the same Iranian journalist known as "Witness D". Pilz said he had met Witness D in Versailles, near Paris, on May 20, 2005.

On July 5 the public prosecutor had asked for verifications of Pilz's story, claimed a spokesman for Austria's interior ministry, Rudolf Gollia. The following day representatives from Austria's justice ministry and interior ministry confirmed that they were checking the claims of Ahmadinejad's involvement in the 1989 assassination.

At first Iran played down the significance of Peter Pilz's account. An aide to Ahmadinejad said: "This is not even worth commenting on. It is like the other accusations and there will be more accusations." Two days later, Iran's tone had changed.

On Tuesday, July 5, 2005, the Austrian ambassador in Tehran was summoned to the Iranian foreign ministry to account for the accusations, which Iran described as "ridiculous". Ebrahim Rahimpour, director-general of the Iranian foreign ministry said: "One should not allow the good relations between the two countries to be disrupted by allegations provided by Zionist elements."

Pilz, for his part, said: "I cannot personally say whether the allegations... are true, but I can say that they are credible."

Saeed Hajjarian was formerly a secret agent in Iran, employed under the reforming regime of Ahmadinejad's predecessor, Mohammed Khatami. Hajjarian also denied that Ahmadinejad had been involved in the 1989 Vienna assassinations. However, he claimed that while Ahmadinejad had been governor of Ardabil province in north-west Iran between 1993 and 1997, he had been involved in financial wrongdoing.

A former president of Iran, Abholhassan Bani-Sadr, who lives in exile in France, claimed in 2005 that Ahmadinejad had been involved with the US Embassy hostage situation, but not as a kidnapper. Bani-Sadr said that Ahmadinejad "wasn’t among the decision-makers but he was among those inside the Embassy. One of his roles ... was to inform Mr. Khomeini of what was happening at the Embassy." Bani-Sadr maintained that Ahmadinejad had initially been unsure about the morality of kidnapping. He changed his mind when Ayatollah Khomeini gave his approval for the hostage situation.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, an exiled Iranian dissident, agrees with the claims of "Witness D" that Ahmadinejad had supplied the weapons for the 1989 Vienna assassinations. A director of Strategic Policy Consulting in Washington DC, Jafarzadeh maintained in 2005 that his information came from sources within the Iranian government, who had "provided accurate information in the past".

Soon after Ahmadinejad took up his post as president, the media allegations of his involvement with kidnappings of US embassy hostages and being involved in the Vienna killings died down. Within weeks of being inaugurated as president, Ahmadinejad was attracting global attention for his threats to wipe Israel “off the map”, and for insisting on his "right" to develop nuclear technology, even though this meant developing a nuclear weapons program.

At present, the date at which Iran may find its nuclear facilities bombed comes closer to becoming a reality. But even though Iran's regime is making no compromises and is constantly attempting to distract attention from its real aims, one thing is certain. The world's attention may be focusing on Iran's nuclear threat, but those dirty little skeletons in Ahmadinejad's closet are not going to go away.

Comparison images[edit]

Can you get a comparison image, like these: [1] [2] [3] [4] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:15, 10 August 2008 (UTC)


Why does it say "Washington based Council on Foreign Relations" when the CFR is New York-based with a Washington satellite office?

As for substance, I note that neither of the most fluent Farsi speakers at the Embassy, political officers who were both hostages, Mike Metrinko and John Limbert, are cited in the article as having commented on the issue. Knowing that witness identification in court is so often faulty and that the others at the Embassy who were accredited as "language officers" did not have true fluency, I am left wondering. It's entirely possible that for reasons of diplomatic convenience (not that anybody in State or the White House likes Ahmadinejad) it is not deemed desirable to exclude his travel to New York for UN meetings.

"Bani-Sadr" is spelled two different ways in the text.

Finally: there was a demonstration at the Embassy a few days earlier, one which I recall as having been taken more seriously by the RSO and the Chargé than the one on November 4 (meaning that employees were, as I recall, sent home for the earlier demonstration but not on November 4). I wonder whether there was any connection between the two; I haven't previously been attentive to writings on the Embassy invasion either on Wikipedia or elsewhere so what do I know; and I have forgotten details of the day after 30 years.

Andygx (talk) 09:09, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

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