Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Iran's New President

From Iran Focus (original includes photo):

AP Photo shows Iran’s new President as 1979 US hostage-taker Wed. 29 Jun 2005

London, Jun. 29 - Iran Focus has learnt that the photograph of Iran’s newly-elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, holding the arm of a blindfolded American hostage on the premises of the United States embassy in Tehran was taken by an Associated Press photographer in November 1979.

Prior to the first round of the presidential elections on June 17, Iran Focus was the first news service to reveal Ahmadinejad’s role in the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

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.

Soon after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Ahmadinejad, who was studying in Tehran’s University of Science and Technology, became a member of the central council of the Office for Strengthening of Unity Between Universities and Theological Seminaries, the main pro-Khomeini student body.

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 Mirdamadi, Mohsen Kadivar, Hashem Aghajari, and Abbas Abdi, were regularly received by Khomeini himself.

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.

After the 444-day occupation of the U.S. embassy, Ahmadinejad joined the special forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Prosecutor’s Office, based in Evin Prison. The “Revolutionary Prosecutor” was Assadollah Lajevardi, who earned the nickname the Butcher of Evin after the execution of thousands of political dissidents in the 1980s.

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).

For a fuller account of Ahmadinejad’s life, go to the following story: Iran’s new President has a past mired in controversy.

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