According to an astonishing report confirmed by former Iran President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was indeed one of the 1979 hostage takers.
The confirmation comes from a book written by Mark Bowden, Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War With Militant Islam. Bowden has produced an in-depth study of the 444-day hostage taking, which included mock executions and interrogations, run by a wildly paranoid group of Khomeini followers. Khomeini himself was utterly misinterpreted by the Carter administration as a peaceful religious figure — Andrew Young called him “some kind of saint” — when of course he turned out to be a murderous fanatic. As President, Jimmy Carter and his NSC Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinsky, refused to back the pro-American and modernizing Shah against the “peaceful” coup by a coalition of Khomeiniacs and Leftists. The CIA was utterly clueless, and when Khomeini’s articles were translated into English they turned out to be violently anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic. But the Carter Administration still denied the evidence of its own eyes.
Bowden’s important book is reviewed in today’s Real Clear Politics by political scientist Matthias Kuentzen.
In 1979, a 23-year-old Mahmoud Ahmadinejad figured among the core group that prepared the seizure
of the American embassy. According to then-Iranian President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, Ahmadinejad was not only present in the occupied compound, but served as liaison between the hostage-takers and Ali Khamenei, at the time one of the most important Friday preachers in Tehran. Khamenei himself, today Iran’s Supreme Leader, visited the hostage-takers repeatedly in the compound. Ali-Akbar Rafsanjani, today Iran’s third most important political figure, was in 1980 the chairman of the Parliament and in this capacity he shared responsibility for the prolongation of the hostage crisis.
The Khomeinist seizure of the US Embassy ultimately brought down the Jimmy Carter presidency. The hostages were quickly released when Ronald Reagan took office. Apparently Khomeini was more afraid of Reagan than Carter. Both Carter and Brzezinski still deny their personal responsibility for bringing the first radical Islamist regime to power.
As Kuentzen points out:
Today, we are not only facing a second major conflict with Iran, but the West is confronted by the same theological regime, the same ideology of martyrdom — and indeed by some of the same persons.
In the obsessive worldview of the hostage-takers, an all-powerful United States was responsible for all the evils of the world. … Every piece of information coming from the embassy personnel, no matter how innocuous, took on a dark, covert significance. Even their digital watches and ballpoint pens were ascribed special powers, such as are otherwise only to be found in a James Bond film. … The contrast between the reality and the phantasm could hardly have been greater.
Like Stalin, Ahmadinejad plays to Iranian nationalism when it suits him. But is the Khomeini cult really a pro-Iran movement? Or is it ancient Islamist imperialism come back to haunt the world?
“We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah,” he declared in a speech in 1980 in Qom. “For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world.”
And in answer to the possibility that US forces might try to rescue the hostages: “”We will destroy you all, even if we ourselves die in the process.”
No it’s not comforting, but that is the reality of the Tehran regime we see today.