The Hostage Rescue Attempt In Iran, April 24-25, 1980
NEW IRANIAN PRESIDENT IDENTIFIED AS HOSTAGE TAKER OF 1979
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|Iranian President on the right
|Terrorist on the left. Co-incidence?
Monday, November 13, 2006
Photo shows Iran leader
as '79 U.S. hostage taker
Ahmadinejad has denied role in
embassy seizure, abuse
Posted: November 13, 2006
10:26 a.m. Eastern
© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com
The Russian publication Kommersant has published a newly located photograph
of a U.S. hostage-taker in Iran circa 1979 bearing a striking resemblance to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Iranian leader has steadfastly denied he was involved in the takeover
of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the holding of 52 Americans for 444 days despite assertions to the contrary of some of those
hostages and former Iranian President Abholhassan Bani-Sadr, who says he was a ringleader and the liaison with Ayatollah Ruhollah
Russian newspaper published photo, see above, bearing striking
resemblance to Iranian president
Charges by the ex-hostages were made shortly after Ahmadinejad came to power
June 24, 2005. But from the beginning, the White House and State Department made it clear they would rather not know the truth
about Ahmadinejad because it would place the U.S. in a position of refusing to permit a head of government into the country
to attend U.N. meetings.
One official said such a finding would "enormously complicate" matters.
U.S. "investigators" never bothered to interview any of the former hostages
who made the charges against the Iranian leader.
Perhaps the most damning evidence against Ahmadinejad with regard to the hostage-taking
came from Bani-Sadr, Iran's president during the early days of the Khomeini revolution.
He has adamantly affirmed Ahmadinejad was one of the kidnappers who held 52
Americans for 444 days. He said the former student leader was in the embassy throughout the hostage crisis.
"Ayatollah Khomeini's deputy, Ayatollah Khamenei, demanded of him a constant
report on what is happening in the embassy," he said.
When told Ahmadinejad denied the accusation, Bani-Sadr laughed.
"What do you want?" he said. "That he should not deny
it? I was president, and I know the details, and I am telling you for sure that he was there, though his role was not organizational.
He was the chief reporter to Khamenei."
Sadr added that Ahmadinejad initially opposed the hostage-taking but changed
his mind once Khomeini gave his support.
At least six former American hostages agree the president of
Iran played a key role in interrogating and abusing them.
Chuck Scott characterized his tormentor as "cold, hard-nosed" and said his
memory is solid, "as sure as I'm sitting here."
"If you went through a traumatic experience like that and you were around
people who made it possible, you're never going to forget them," said Scott, a 73-year-old retired U.S. Army colonel.
Scott said he recognized him almost instantly during the publicity
surrounding his election in June, when he shocked the world by winning in an upset.
Former hostage Don Sharer identified Ahmadinejad as a student
leader who called Americans "pigs and dogs."
Ahmadinejad acknowledges membership in the radical student organization that
stormed the embassy when he was 23.
"He was in the background, like an adviser," recalled
Sharer, a former U.S. Navy officer. "He called us pigs and dogs and said we deserved to be locked up forever."
Scott called him "a leader, what I would call a hard-a--. Even the other guards
said he was very strict."
"The new president of Iran is a terrorist," said Scott.
Sharer said Ahmadinejad was an interrogator and remembers being personally
grilled by him.
"He was involved in interrogating me the day we were taken
captive," said former Marine security guard Kevin Hermening. "There is absolutely no reason the United States should be trying
to normalize relations with a man who seems intent on trying to force-feed the world with state-sponsored terrorism."
William Daugherty, another former hostage, concurs that Ahmadinejad was there.
He claims he saw him eight to 10 times in the first 19 days of captivity before the hostages were separated into smaller groups.
"As soon as I saw the face, it rang a lot of bells to
me, and it was a recent picture, but he still looks like a man, take 20 years off of him, he was there. He was there in the
David Roeder, the embassy's former deputy Air Force attache, also said Ahmadinejad
was present during one of his interrogations.
"It was almost like he was checking on the interrogation techniques they were
using in a sort of adviser capacity," Roeder said.
Sharer added: "He was extremely cruel. He is one of the hardliners, so that
tells you what their government is going to stand for in the next four to five years."
In addition to Bani-Sadr and the hostages, BBC correspondent
John Simpson also recalled seeing Ahmadinejad on the embassy grounds, according to Middle East analyst Daniel Pipes.
|Is this the new Iranian President?
|Iranians living in America confirm that this new President WAS there!
AP Reports: Former American Hostages Claim Iran's New Leader Held Them Captive Published: June 29, 2005 8:25 PM ET updated Thursday 11:00 AM ET
SAVANNAH, Ga. The White House said Thursday it is taking seriously the
allegations of some former American hostages who say the believe that Iran's president-elect was one of their captors in the
"I think the news reports and statements from several former American hostages raise
many questions about his past," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said of the Iranian president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"We take them very seriously and we are looking into them to better understand the facts."
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.
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.
The United States broke off ties with Iran after militant students
seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979, and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days to protest Washington's refusal
to hand over Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for trial.
The aide, Meisan Rowhani, told the AP from
Tehran that Ahmadinejad was asked during recent private meetings if he had a role in the hostage taking. Rowhani said he replied,
"No. I believed that if we do that the world will swallow us."
Scott and Roeder both said they
were sure Ahmadinejad was present while they were interrogated.
"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."
Ahmadinejad, the hard-line mayor of Tehran, was declared winner Wednesday of Iran's presidential
runoff election, defeating one of Iran's best-known statesmen, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani. The stunning upset put conservatives
firmly in control of all branches of power in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Scott, Roeder, Daugherty
and Sharer said they have been exchanging e-mails since seeing Ahmadinejad emerge as a serious contender in Iran's elections.
"He was extremely cruel," said Sharer, of Bedford, Ind. "He's one of the hard-liners. So that tells
you where their government's going to stand for the next four to five years."
After seeing recent
newspaper photos, Sharer said, "I don't have any doubts" that Ahmadinejad was a hostage-taker.
of Peoria, Ariz., didn't recognize Ahmadinejad and said allegations that he had been a hostage-taker don't concern him as
much as knowing hard-liners are back in power in Iran.
Scott gave a detailed account of the man
he recalled as Ahmadinejad, saying he appeared to be a security chief among the hostage-takers.
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.
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
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."
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.
had been Marine guard at the embassy, and he recalled the man he believes was Ahmadinejad asking him for the combination to
"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."
the aide to Ahmadinejad, said Ahmadinejad said during the recent meeting that he stopped opposing the embassy seizure after
the revolution's leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, expressed support for it. But the president-elect said he never took
"Definitely he was not among the students who took part in the seizure," said Abbas Abdi,
the leader of the hostage-takers. Abdi has since become a leading supporter of reform and sharply opposed Ahmadinejad. "He
was not part of us. He played no role in the seizure, let alone being responsible for security" for the students.
Another of the hostage-takers, Bijan Abidi, said Ahmadinejad "was not involved. There was no one by that name among
the students who took part in the U.S. Embassy seizure."
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,
Friday, July 01, 2005
Iranian Paper 'Identifies' Students in Siege Photo
July 01, 2005
Sam Knight and Michael Theodoulou
The Bush Administration said today that it is continuing to investigate allegations that the President-elect of
Iran was involved in the 1979 attack on the US Embassy in Tehran, even as the photograph that triggered the controversy was
The White House press secretary told reporters today that President Bush would not be surprised
to learn that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elected as the new President of Iran last week, took part in the 444-day siege that ruined
American relations with Iran.
"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," said Scott McClellan this morning, referring to allegations made by five
American hostages on Wednesday that they remembered Mr Ahmadinejad as one of their captors.
"Given the nature of the
regime and his own past, I don’t think it should be surprising," said Mr McClellan, who also repeated American criticisms
of the recent Iranian elections, saying that "hand-picked candidates" had been allowed to run and that the elections were
"well short of free and fair".
The continuing scrutiny of the White House stood in contrast to the increasing doubts
surrounding the photograph that first prompted questions into Mr Ahmadinejad's role in the embassy siege.
Iran Focus, a London-based Iranian news agency opposed to the President-elect, circulated a well known Associated Press photograph
of the crisis, which began in November 1979, saying that it showed Mr Ahmadinejad holding the arm of an American hostage.
But today, an reformist newspaper in Tehran, Shargh, said that the Iranian students shown in the photograph were Ja’afar
Zaker, a militant who went on to die in the Iran-Iraq war, and a student known only as Ranjbaran, who was later executed for
alleged links to an extreme opposition group.
As for the American hostage shown in the photograph, The Times learnt
yesterday that he is Jerry J. Miele, who was working at a communications officer at the Embassy in 1979. Reached at his home
today in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, Mr Miele, 66, declined to comment on the photograph but said: "I don't have anything
to say about the new President of Iran, I don't want to cause any trouble."
Even though Mr Ahmadinejad's role in the
hostage crisis, let alone the photograph, has been widely disputed, not least by other hostage takers who led the capture
of the embassy, more American hostages said on Friday that he could have been among their captors.
Barry Rosen, a
former press officer at the embassy who now works at Columbia University told Reuters he had no direct memory of Mr Ahmadinejad
but supported another former hostage, former Colonel David Roeder, who said yesterday that Mr Ahmadinejad had assisted interrogations
of the hostages.
"I feel that if Dave says it’s so then it’s so," said Mr Rosen.
Roeder and four other hostages said they were sure Mr Ahmadinejad had played a significant role in the embassy siege.
A bound and blindfolded American hostage is displayed to a crowd outside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Nov. 9, 1979.
The terrorist at right has been identified as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the new President of Iran.
The man to the above escorting hostage Jerry Miele has been identified as the new president of Iran from this picture
taken 25 years ago. Several former hostages have identified him as one of their interrogators, so his connection to the Hostage
Crisis is undeniable in my opinion, but is this him in the original hostage taking events?
Some have taken this photo and others and compared them to recent pictures of the new president and have drawn the conclusion
that it is NOT the same man.
Other pictures posted showed a man with a blazer who many others thought was this man, but my Iranian friends all
insisted I had the wrong guy.
Shown right below is the new presidnet on the left, and the man in the knakis who was identified as the president 25
years ago. The most obvious feature that does not match is the nose.
I believe that these new pictures when compared to the old, show two different men.
My first impression from the blurred pictures from back then, was that the man in the blazer was the new president. From
the original angles, that man in the blazer was the closest in appearance, in facial shape and nose shape.
Clearer pics of that same man in the blazer, with his head at a different angle show I was wrong.
In the photo above, the media identified the man on the far right, and most of us thought it was the man on the blazer
instead, but newer pics show that is not him.
This clearer pic of the two original men identified show NEITHER match the new president in facial features. The man in
the blazer right behind clearly is not the new president, and neither is the man in the khakis right in front.
Some have done a side by side comparison on the ears and nose of the man first identified, and here is that comparison:
Two things make me say no, his nose (as mentioned) and the structure of his year. His nose of course, could have changed
if it were broken, however the ear is quite different.
|An Iranian Friend has identified the man partially
|hidden in this shot
My Iranian friend believes that the man whose face is hidden over the right shoulder of Hostage Jerry Miele is the new
I have another Iranian friend who insists the government's first identification is correct, also!
Some have said it does not matter if we caught him at the scene of the crime.
It does matter since he insists he wasn't a part of it.
Iranian President linked to murdersTony Allen-Mills, Washington04jul05INTELLIGENCE sources and Iranian opposition figures have accused Iran's new President of being involved in a string
of assassinations in the Middle East and Europe in the 1980s and 90s.
The claims follow last week's allegations that
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad participated in the student takeover of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979.
According to a report in The Sunday Times of London, Kazem Sami, who was the first Iranian health minister after the 1979
Islamic revolution but fell out with the ayatollahs, was the first of dozens of dissidents to die.
He was working in a Tehran clinic in November 1988 when an assailant posing as a patient stabbed him repeatedly.
The following July, three gunmen burst into a Vienna flat and opened fire on a meeting of Iranian Kurdish exiles.
Among three people killed was Abdul Rahman Qassemlou, the leader of Kurdish opposition to the ayatollahs in Tehran. The
murders have never been solved.
An Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman said at the weekend that the Austrian Government had documents implicating Mr Ahmadinejad
in the Qassemlou assassination.
"A dossier concerning Mr Ahmadinejad was submitted to the Federal Counter Terrorism Agency, which handed it over to the
public prosecutor's office," Rudolf Gollia said. Vienna's public prosecutor's office was not available for comment.
Almost a decade after the Vienna murders, a clandestine group of Iranian militants began plotting the murder of British
author Salman Rushdie, the victim of a fatwa sentencing him to death for supposed blasphemy in his book The Satanic Verses.
For years there had been only the vaguest allegations of a link between those events.
All that has changed with the election of Mr Ahmadinejad, the hardline former mayor of Tehran.
Mr Ahmadinejad's surprise victory in last month's poll has unleashed a flood of accusations, innuendo and investigations
of his militant pedigree.
Iranian opposition websites are buzzing with reports of a leaked document that purportedly proves Mr Ahmadinejad, 49, led
a team of would-be assassins that plotted to murder Rushdie. The document remained untraceable last week but a prominent opposition
figure, Maryam Rajavi, of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, denounced Mr Ahmadinejad as a "terrorist, torturer and
Iranian officials dismissed many of the allegations as "absurd" and motivated by political malice.
But a senior Washington official said "a lot of filing cabinets are rattling" as intelligence and law enforcement agencies
search for clues to the Iranian strongman's past.
There was also concern in Europe that whatever the truth, a process of US-led "demonisation" had begun that would damage
European efforts to solve the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Using details provided by US regional specialists, official Iranian websites and previously reliable opposition sources,
it proved possible to piece together a sobering account of the new President's ties to ultra-conservative, anti-Western factions.
These include a unit long-suspected by US intelligence agencies of directing state-sponsored terrorist activities abroad.
With the return to Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini, the revolution's spiritual leader, Mr Ahmadinejad became his university's
representative in the Student Office for Strengthening Unity, which played a central role in the seizure of the US embassy
Several former embassy hostages claimed last week that Mr Ahmadinejad was among the students who held them captive for
But experts using advanced facial recognition technology have established that he is not the man identified on last week's
widely distributed photograph of hostages and captors. US officials, however, said they were continuing to investigate his
As Islamic rule intensified in the early 1980s with purges of moderate students, Mr Ahmadinejad joined the Islamic Revolution
Guard Corps, the ultra-conservative military elite fiercely loyal to the ayatollahs.
A senior officer in the IRGC's special "internal security" brigade, Mr Ahmadinejad's duties included the suppression of
dissident activity, which, according to his rivals, involved the interrogation, torture and execution of political prisoners.
US intelligence sources and Iranian opposition figures believe Mr Ahmadinejad became a key figure in the formation of the
IRGC's Qods Force, which has been linked to assassinations in the Middle East and Europe, including the murder of Qassemlou.
The Sunday Times, AP, AFPhttp://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15813147^2703,.html
Former Hostages ID Ahmadinejad
Saturday, Sept. 17, 2005
Kenneth R. Timmerman
NEW YORK - A group of former hostages from the U.S. embassy in Tehran
reaffirmed today there was "no doubt" that the lead interrogator during their ordeal was the current president of Iran.
Ahmadinejad, who has denied he personally took part in the hostage-taking, addressed the United Nations General Assembly in
New York today for five minutes, despite a finding by the U.S. Department of State that he was a "terrorist" and was ineligible
for a visa..
Before he spoke, the former hostages and their supporters held a vigil in front of the Mission of
the Islamic Republic of Iran at 3rd avenue and 40th street.
"For twenty-six years, the government of Iran has
not been held accountable for their violation of international law," said Kevin Hermening, who at 21 was a freshly-arrived
Marine guard at the Embassy and the youngest hostage. "Despite our political differences as individuals, we all agree as a
group that it is time to seek remedy. Ahmadinejad and his government need to be treated as a pariah."
now a professor at Columbia University, agreed. "We have lived with this for the rest of our lives," he said. "We were treated
He said the group of former hostages had resolved to talk anew about their ordeal in order to
put a human face on victims of torture. "We are talking about the lives of millions of human beings who are living in pain
on a daily basis."
Hermening identified Ahmadinejad as the lead interrogator for the military and security personnel
at the embassy. "He was not an English speaker, but directed the interrogations. He told [the interpreters] what to ask. He
ordered me to open safes," Hermening said.
He said he had spoken to other security officers at the embassy, including
Tom Ahern and Colonel Charles Scott, and that all agreed there was "no doubt" the lead interrogator was Ahmadinejad.
recounted the story of Colonel David Roeder, who has spoken to reporters but was unable to travel to New York. "Colonel Roeder's
interrogator was the current president of Iran. He told Rader, 'we know where you live. We know that you have a handicapped
child. We know what time he gets picked up for school. We know where. If you don't answer our questions as we like, we are
going to chop off his fingers and his toes and send them one by one to your wife in a box.'"
Iranian human rights
activist Dr. Manoucher Ganji helped convince Hermening, Scott, and fellow hostage William Daughterty to speak to National
Iranian TV (NITV), which broadcasts into Iran from Los Angeles. In separate interviews this summer, each described his encounter
with the current Iranian president while being held hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Personally ConductedRoeder said that out of his 51 interrogations, Ahmadinejad personally had
conducted one-third of them.
The former hostages said they had recognized Ahmadinejad even before photographs
of the hostage-takers resurfaced in U.S. newspapers last June, at the time of the first-round of the Iranian presidential
elections. "We knew the man from the movement of his eyes, his lips. We knew him," Hermening said.
NITV interviews, the U.S. Department of State had not sought out the former hostages, although they knew that Ahmadinejad
would be applying to travel to the United States to address the UN General Assembly this week.
"After their statements
to an international television audience, the State Department couldn't do anything else but recognize him as a terrorist,"
Ganji also presented to reporters the former head of a taxi company in Tehran, who said he was personally
assaulted and tortured by Ahmadinejad in 1981.
Joseph Pirayoff's company was based in the Hotel Intercontinental
in Tehran and provided long-term rentals to U.S. defense contractors, in addition to taxi services.
1979 revolution, he received a phone call from a U.S. military attaché at the embassy, asking him to secretly transport family
members of U.S. diplomats to evacuation flights at the Tehran airport at night.
Nearly two years later, Pirayoff
said Ahmadinejad and 25 revolutionary guardsmen stormed his apartment looking for president Abolhassan Banisadr, who was ousted
by Ayatollah Khomeini in a coup in June 1981. "I told them I didn't know Banisadr," he said. Ahmadinejad hit him so hard in
the face he broke his jaw.
Ganji himself was “on an Iranian government hit
list for eighteen years” while organizing opposition to the regime from Paris, he said.
Some of the former hostages were so upset that the State Department had failed to contact them to confirm
the reports about Ahmadinejad that they wrote to Congress last week.
In a letter addressed to the chairman and
ranking member of the House International Relations Committee, Rosen, Doughterty, Roeder, and Paul Lewis recounted the latest
chapter of their saga.
"To our consternation, the administration waited six weeks [after the election of Ahmadinejad]
before contacting ajy former hostages and then only to arrange future appointment times for interviews. The State Department
began conducting the very first debriefings on Wednesday, 10 August. Then - incredibly - the very next day, with the debriefing
process scarcely begun. the government leaked to the media a CIA report that the investigation had already been concluded
that our stated concerns were a case of mistaken identity."
Initial media reports with the leaked CIA report
appeared on Friday, August 12, just two days after the first debriefings of former hostages were held. The former hostages
have worked with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, Fla), who has introduced legislation that would provide payment to the former hostages
and their families.
The new bill, HR 3358, would abrogate the Jan. 19, 1981 Algiers Accords that prohibited U.S.
persons from suing the government of Iran. The Algiers accords required the United States to release frozen Iranian government
assets in exchange for the hostages, and sheltered the Iranian government from lawsuit.
More than twenty-four
years after their release, the ordeal the hostages underwent remains with them.
Barry Rosen still recalls with
shame signing a "confession" after his captors threatened to kill him. "I was thinking of my two young children," he recalled.
Hermening recalls the day his captors threatened to execute him, holding him blindfolded and handcuffed while they shouted
execution commands and poked him repeatedly in the back with automatic rifles. "It was the most frightening experience of
my life," he said.
Kenneth R. Timmerman
Middle East Data Project, Inc.
Author: Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran