Sunday, July 03, 2005

Tehran games 

They doth protest too much:
President-elect opposed U.S. embassy seizure
runs a "Tehran Times" headline. Since when did it become something to be ashamed of inside the mullah establishment to have taken Great Satan's hostages?
Abbas Abdi, a fierce supporter of reforms in Iran who helped to orchestrate the raid on the embassy and the seizure of its staff after the Islamic revolution, said the former American hostages had poor memories.

"Ahmadinejad was not among those who occupied the American embassy after the revolution," said Abdi.

Mohsen Mirdamadi, a former reformist lawmaker and Hamid Reza Jalaeipoor, a reform-minded political activist, who had both taken part in the embassy seizure, rejected the Times report about Ahmadinejad's involvement.

"I deny such reports. Ahmadinejad was not a member of the radical students' group who seized the embassy," said Mirdamadi.
Apparently even "Tehran Times" understands that reformers will be more credible to the West than Mullah X or Ayatollah Y. Still, the claim that Ahmadinejad not only was not involved in the seizure of the embassy, but wasn't even a member of the group responsible for it, is contradicted by another interview quoted in the article:
Seyyed Nejad was one of the members of the central council of the Office to Foster Unity (OFU)...

Q: Mr. Seyyed Nejad! You were one of first members of OFU in 1979. Who else was in the OFU Central Council?

A: The other members were Mohsen Mirdamadi from Polytechnique University, Ibrahim Asgharzadeh from Sharif University, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the University of Science and Industry, and another man whose name I can not remember from Shahid Beheshti University.

Q: Is that right that Mr. Asgharzadeh and Mirdamadi had first proposed the plan to occupy the U.S. embassy in Tehran and you and Mr. Ahmadinejad disagreed with the idea?

A: Exactly.
But other recollections of the meeting paint a diametrically different picture of Ahmadinejad:
He belonged to the ultra-conservative faction of the OSU [a different translation of the organization's name]. According to other OSU officials, when the idea of storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran was raised in the OSU central committee by Mahmoud Mirdamadi and Abbas Abdi, who later became leading figures in President Mohammad Khatami's faction, Ahmadinejad suggested storming the Soviet embassy at the same time.
In the end though it matters very little whether Iran's president-elect was a supporter or an opponent of hostage taking back in 1979, or whether he was even actively involved in the whole long crisis. What's far more important is what he intends to do now, and his desire to start exporting again Islamic Revolution with gender segregated lifts hardly inspires confidence. Unless you believe this posturing is all bluff, a sort of good mullah-bad mullah routine to get a better deal out of the West.


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