Former Iran Student Leader Said He Regrets 1979 US Embassy Attack

November 16, 2019

An Iranian student leader taken over by the US Embassy in 1979 said that his revolutionary enthusiasm was weakened by whitening his dark brown hair for years, and he now feels that the diplomatic compound was confiscated and the subsequent 444-day hostage crisis felt regret.

Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, speaking to the Associated Press before the 40th anniversary of the attack on Monday, admitted that because of the tension between the virtues and the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers, The impact of the crisis is still echoing.

Asgharzadeh reminds others not to follow his footsteps, even though the acquisition has been shrouded in tough myths. He also objected to the revisionist history now proposed by the supporters of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, saying that they commanded the attack and insisted that everything was attributed to Islamic students who had left the crisis out of control.

Asgarzad said: “Like Jesus Christ, all my sins on my shoulders.”

At the time, the reason for the takeover in 1979 was still an obscure place for Americans, because television news broadcasts showed Iran’s protests in the embassy, ​​and Americans could only watch it in horror for months. The public’s anger over the United States stemmed from a coup d’état planned by the CIA in 1953, which overthrew Iran’s election as prime minister and consolidated the power of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The dead king of cancer (Shah) fled Iran in February 1979, paving the way for the Islamic revolution. But for months, Iran has faced widespread turmoil, including separatist attacks, worker uprisings and internal power struggles. The police report was for work, not for duty, which caused the chaos like Marxist students to briefly capture the US embassy.

In this power vacuum, then President Jimmy Carter allowed the King (Shah) to seek medical care in New York. This ignited a rush for the takeover work on November 4, 1979, although at first the Islamic students competed for which embassy. A student leader named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later became president in 2005. He argued that due to political chaos caused by leftists, they should occupy the Soviet embassy in Tehran. .

But the students settled in the US Embassy, ​​hoping to put pressure on Carter to send the Iranian king back to Iran to try the corruption allegations. At the time, 23-year-old engineering student Asgharzadeh remembered to go to the Tehran market to buy bolt cutters. This is a common tool used by criminals. The salesman said: “You don’t look like a thief! You definitely want to open it and put it in the US ambassador. On the door of the pavilion!”

Asgharzadeh said: “Society is ready for its occurrence. Everything happens so fast.” “We cut off the chains on the main entrance of the embassy. Some of us climbed the wall and soon occupied. Embassy compound.”

Like other former students, Asgarzad said the plan was just for sit-in. But the situation quickly lost control. Shia priest Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who has been in exile for a long time, supported Iran and took over the revolution. He will use this popular perspective to expand the power of Islamists.

Asgharzadeh said: “We, students, are responsible for the first 48 hours of the acquisition.” “Later, since the establishment of the late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, everything is no longer in us. In control.”

He added: “Our plan is one of the unprofessional and temporary students.”

As time went by, innocent students gradually realized that Americans would not participate in their revolution. Despite the failure of the US military’s rescue attempt in the crisis, Carter lost to Ronald Reagan, but the United States overall expressed concern about the hostages, they showed the yellow ribbon and counted the days of their imprisonment.

As the months go by, the situation will only get worse. Ashazad said he believes that once the king leaves the United States or died in Egypt in July 1980, it will all end.

He said: “A few months after the acquisition, it seems to have turned into a rotten fruit hanging from the tree. No one dares to take it down to solve the problem.” “There is a lot of public opinion behind this move. The society feels it has put super The big country, the United States, has fallen, and people believe that this takeover proves to the United States that their democratic revolution has stabilized.”

But no. Eight years of the Iraqi war broke out in this crisis. The hostage crisis and later wars have raised the position of hardliners who seek to strictly enforce their Islamic faith versions.

To date, occupying or attacking diplomatic posts remains a strategy of Iran’s hardliners. In 2011, mobs attacked the British Embassy in Tehran, while another mob attacked Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic posts in 2016, leading to the disruption of diplomatic relations between Tehran and Riyadh. Iran will hold a rally in front of the Tehran compound in the United States on Monday to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the US Embassy.

However, Asgharzadeh denied that Iran’s then-nascent Revolutionary Guard directed the U.S. Embassy takeover, although he said it was informed before the attack over fears that security forces would storm the compound and retake it. Many at the time believed the shah would launch a coup, like in 1953, to regain power.

“In a very limited way, we informed one of the Guard’s units and they accepted to protect the embassy from outside,” Asgharzadeh said. “The claim (by hard-liners) on the Guard’s role lacks credit. I am the main narrator of the incident and I am still alive.”

In the years since, Asgharzadeh has become a reformist politician and served prison time for his views. He has argued that Iran should work toward improving ties with the U.S., a difficult task amid President Donald Trump’s maximalist campaign against Tehran.

“It is too difficult to say when the relations between Tehran and Washington can be restored,” Asgharzadeh said. “I do not see any prospect.”