The story that the President-elect of Iran may have been one of the student hostage-takers in Tehran in 1979 seems to be gaining some momentum and the media, finding themselves as usual unable to come up with any juicy stories about missing blondes or celebrity miscreants, will pursue this with quite some vigor.
The White House stepped in on Thursday, courtesy of Arianna’s new obsession/fascination, Scott McClellan, who said that the government takes this ‘very seriously’. Really? Up until now, I suppose, the Bush administration hadn’t been aware that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, both a hard-line conservative and a student at the time of the revolution, may have or have had less than warm feelings for the USA? Not even after he walked on a painting the American flag to cast his vote in the elections? Or was the administration not paying attention to the fact that Ahmadinejad’s press conference after the election was the first of the Iranian leadership’s in years not to be translated into English, which might tell us what Mr. Ahmadinejad thinks of our little world over here?
The fact remains that whether Iran’s new president was involved in the hostage-taking, was an interrogator, or was a bystander throughout; he was undoubtedly a supporter of the U.S. Embassy siege and as an ardent supporter of Khomeini, would have shot the Americans if told to by the Ayatollah. And since he’s already put the kibosh on any resumption of cordial ties with the U.S., why does it matter so much? The American people may have forgotten, but in a deal worked out between the U.S. and Iran and brokered by Algeria in 1980, the U.S. agreed to not only free up some frozen Iranian assets in the U.S, but also to bar any lawsuits against Iran in exchange for the release of the hostages. No lawsuits; no trials in the International Court. So other than the issue of pride (and I fully understand former hostages’ feelings of anger) what exactly can or will the U.S. do about it when and if they can confirm that Ahmadinejad was involved in the embassy takeover? Or is this simply the demonization process necessary to any regime-change policy? The President-elect of Iran has denied that he was directly involved, and given that he refused to pander to the pro-western electorate during his campaign, he would really have no reason to lie. If anything, to his supporters, having been a ringleader of the students would be viewed as an asset.
I for one am much more intrigued by the Condoleezza Rice story to come out of Iran this week. According to an Iranian MP, the reason why Condi spews such vitriol on Iran (so far a mystery to this particular lawmaker) is because she was once dumped by an Iranian boyfriend. Seems that this Iranian broke her heart when she was in college, and now she’s out for revenge. Wouldn’t that be delicious if it were even half-true? I mean just the Iranian boyfriend part, for I wasn’t aware that Condi ever had any boyfriends. The MP clearly meant to insult Rice, for apart from his somewhat sexist remark, he also claimed that the Iranian lover was from Qazvin. The western press missed the point, but in Iran the old joke is that men from Qazvin prefer other men when it comes to sex. Oh those wacky Iranians!