Iranian student leader says he regrets the attack by the US embassy in 1979

TEHRAN: His revolutionary fervor diminished over the years that also turned his dark brown hair white, one of the Iranian student leaders of the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 says he now regrets the seizure of the diplomatic complex and the crisis of 444 days hostages that followed. .

Speaking to The Associated Press before the 40th anniversary of Monday's attack, he acknowledged that the repercussions of the crisis still resonate as tensions remain high between the United States and Iran for Tehran The collapse of the nuclear agreement with the world powers.

Asgharzadeh warned others not to follow in his footsteps, even though the acquisition was enshrined in hard line mythology. He also disputed a revisionist story now offered by supporters of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran who led the attack, insisting that all the blame lay on the Islamist students who left the crisis out of control.

Like Jesus Christ, I carry all sins on my shoulders, Asgharzadeh said.

At that time, what led to the inauguration of 1979 remained obscure for the Americans who for months could only watch with horror how the television news showed Iranian protests at the embassy. Popular anger against the US UU. It originated in the 1953 coup designed by the CIA that overthrew the elected prime minister of Iran and cemented Shah's power Mohammad Reza Pahlavi .

The sha, dying of cancer, fled Iran in February 1979, paving the way for his Islamic Revolution. But for months, Iran faced widespread unrest ranging from separatist attacks, labor revolts and internal power struggles. The police showed up to work but not for the service, which allowed chaos as Marxist students who briefly seized the US embassy.

In this power vacuum, then-President Jimmy Carter allowed the shah to seek medical treatment in New York. That lit the fuse for the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover, though at first the Islamist students argued over which embassy to seize. A student leader named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who later became president in 2005, argued they should seize the Soviet Embassy compound in Tehran as leftists had caused political chaos.

But the students settled on the US Embassy, hoping to pressure Carter to send the shah back to Iran to stand trial on corruption charges. Asgharzadeh, then a 23-year-old engineering student, remembers friends going to Tehran 's Grand Bazaar to buy a bolt cutter, a popular tool used by criminals, and the salesman saying: ``You do not look like thieves! You certainly want to open up the US Embassy door with it!''

The society was ready to happen. It all happened very fast, Asgharzadeh said. We cut the chains at the embassy door. Some of us climb the walls and occupy the embassy complex very quickly. ''

Like other former students, Asgharzadeh said the plan had simply been to organize a sit-in. But the situation soon got out of control. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the long-time exiled Shiite cleric whose return to Iran caused the revolution, supported the seizure of power. He would use that popular fisherman to expand the power of the Islamists.

We, the students, take responsibility for the first 48 hours of the takeover, '' said Asgharzadeh. Later, he was out of our hands since the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the establishment supported him.

He added: `` Our plan was one of students, not professional and temporary. ''

As time went by, naive students slowly realized that Americans as a whole would not join their revolution. While a rescue attempt by the US military would fail and Carter would lose to Ronald Reagan in the midst of the crisis, the US UU. They expressed concern about the hostages by showing yellow ribbons and counting the days of their captivity.

As the months went by, things only got worse. Asgharzadeh said he thought it would end once the sha left America or later with his death in Egypt in July 1980. It was not so.

A few months after the acquisition, it seemed to become a rotten fruit that hung from a tree and nobody had the courage to tear it down and settle the matter, he said. There was a lot of public opinion. support behind the movement in society. The society felt that it had hit the United States, a superpower, in the mouth and people believed that the takeover showed the United States that its democratic revolution had stabilized. ''

However, he had not done so. The eight-year war between Iran and Iraq would erupt during the crisis. The hostage crisis and later the war boosted the position of the uncompromising who sought the strict implementation of their version of Islamic beliefs.

Seizing or attacking diplomatic posts remains a tactic of Iranian hard-liners to this day. A mob stormed the British Embassy in Tehran in 2011, while another attacked diplomatic posts of Saudi Arabia in 2016, which led to diplomatic ties being cut between Tehran and Riyadh. And Iran will commemorate the 40th anniversary of US Embassy takeover on Monday by staging a rally in front of the Tehran compound where it was located.

However, Asgharzadeh denied that the then nascent Revolutionary Guard of Iran directed the inauguration of the US Embassy, ​​although he said he was informed before the attack for fear that security forces will assault the complex and take it back. Many at that time believed that the shah would launch a coup, as in 1953, to regain power.

`` In a very limited way, we informed one of the Guard units and agreed to protect the embassy from outside, '' Asgharzadeh said. The claim (by the intransigent) on the role of the Guard 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 US, 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.''

His revolutionary fervor diminished with the years that dark brown hair also turned white, one of the Iranian student leaders of the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 says he now regrets the seizure of the diplomatic complex and the crisis of 444 hostage days that followed.

Speaking to The Associated Press ahead of Monday's 40th anniversary of the attack, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh acknowledged that the repercussions of the crisis still reverberate as tensions remain high between the US and Iran over Tehran The collapse of the nuclear agreement with the world powers.

Asgharzadeh warned others not to follow in his footsteps, even though the acquisition was enshrined in hard line mythology. He also disputed a revisionist story now offered by supporters of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran who led the attack, insisting that all the blame lay on the Islamist students who left the crisis out of control.

`` Like Jesus Christ, I carry all sins on my shoulders, '' Asgharzadeh said.

At that time, what led to the inauguration of 1979 remained obscure for the Americans who for months could only watch with horror how the television news showed Iranian protests at the embassy. Popular anger against the US UU. It originated in the 1953 coup designed by the CIA that overthrew the elected prime minister of Iran and cemented Shah's power Mohammad Reza Pahlavi .

The sha, dying of cancer, fled Iran in February 1979, paving the way for his Islamic Revolution. But for months, Iran faced widespread unrest ranging from separatist attacks, labor revolts and internal power struggles. The police showed up to work but not for the service, which allowed chaos as Marxist students who briefly seized the US embassy.

In this power vacuum, then-President Jimmy Carter allowed the shah to seek medical treatment in New York. That lit the fuse for the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover, though at first the Islamist students argued over which embassy to seize. A student leader named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who later became president in 2005, argued they should seize the Soviet Embassy compound in Tehran as leftists had caused political chaos.

But the students settled on the US Embassy, hoping to pressure Carter to send the shah back to Iran to stand trial on corruption charges. Asgharzadeh, then a 23-year-old engineering student, remembers friends going to Tehran 's Grand Bazaar to buy a bolt cutter, a popular tool used by criminals, and the salesman saying: ``You do not look like thieves! You certainly want to open up the US Embassy door with it!''

`` Society was ready to happen. It all happened very fast, '' Asgharzadeh said. `` We cut the chains at the embassy door. Some of us climb the walls and occupy the embassy complex very quickly. ''

Like other former students, Asgharzadeh said the plan had simply been to organize a sit-in. But the situation soon got out of control. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the long-time exiled Shiite cleric whose return to Iran caused the revolution, supported the seizure of power. He would use that popular fisherman to expand the power of the Islamists.

`` We, the students, take responsibility for the first 48 hours of the acquisition, '' Asgharzadeh said. `` Later, it was out of our hands since the late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the establishment supported him. ''

He added: `` Our plan was one of students, not professional and temporary. ''

As time went by, naive students slowly realized that Americans as a whole would not join their revolution. While a rescue attempt by the US military would fail and Carter would lose to Ronald Reagan in the midst of the crisis, the US UU. They expressed concern about the hostages by showing yellow ribbons and counting the days of their captivity.

As the months went by, things only got worse. Asgharzadeh said he thought it would end once the sha left America or later with his death in Egypt in July 1980. It was not so.

`` A few months after the acquisition, it seemed to become a rotten fruit that hung from a tree and nobody had the courage to tear it down and settle the matter, '' he said. `` There was a lot of public opinion support behind the movement in society. The society felt that it had hit the United States, a superpower, in the mouth and people believed that the takeover showed the United States that its democratic revolution had stabilized. ''

However, he had not done so. The eight-year war between Iran and Iraq would erupt during the crisis. The hostage crisis and later the war boosted the position of the uncompromising who sought the strict implementation of their version of Islamic beliefs.

Seizing or attacking diplomatic posts remains a tactic of Iranian hard-liners to this day. A mob stormed the British Embassy in Tehran in 2011, while another attacked diplomatic posts of Saudi Arabia in 2016, which led to diplomatic ties being cut between Tehran and Riyadh. And Iran will commemorate the 40th anniversary of US Embassy takeover on Monday by staging a rally in front of the Tehran compound where it was located.

However, Asgharzadeh denied that the then nascent Revolutionary Guard of Iran directed the inauguration of the US Embassy, ​​although he said he was informed before the attack for fear that security forces will assault the complex and take it back. Many at that time believed that the shah would launch a coup, as in 1953, to regain power.

`` In a very limited way, we informed one of the Guard units and agreed to protect the embassy from outside, '' Asgharzadeh said. `` The claim (by the intransigent) on the role of the Guard 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 US, 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.''

His revolutionary fervor diminished with the years that dark brown hair also turned white, one of the Iranian student leaders of the inauguration of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 says he now regrets the seizure of the diplomatic complex and the crisis of 444 hostage days that followed.

Speaking to The Associated Press ahead of Monday's 40th anniversary of the attack, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh acknowledged that the repercussions of the crisis still reverberate as tensions remain high between the US and Iran over Tehran The collapse of the nuclear agreement with the world powers.

Asgharzadeh warned others not to follow in his footsteps, even though the acquisition was enshrined in hard line mythology. He also disputed a revisionist story now offered by supporters of the Revolutionary Guard of Iran who led the attack, insisting that all the blame lay on the Islamist students who left the crisis out of control.

Like Jesus Christ, I carry all sins on my shoulders, Asgharzadeh said.

At that time, what led to the inauguration of 1979 remained obscure for the Americans who for months could only watch with horror how the television news showed Iranian protests at the embassy. Popular anger against the US UU. It originated in the 1953 coup designed by the CIA that overthrew the elected prime minister of Iran and cemented Shah's power Mohammad Reza Pahlavi .

The sha, dying of cancer, fled Iran in February 1979, paving the way for his Islamic Revolution. But for months, Iran faced widespread unrest ranging from separatist attacks, labor revolts and internal power struggles. The police showed up to work but not for the service, which allowed chaos as Marxist students who briefly seized the US embassy.

In this power vacuum, then-President Jimmy Carter allowed the shah to seek medical treatment in New York. That lit the fuse for the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover, though at first the Islamist students argued over which embassy to seize. A student leader named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who later became president in 2005, argued they should seize the Soviet Embassy compound in Tehran as leftists had caused political chaos.

But the students settled on the US Embassy, hoping to pressure Carter to send the shah back to Iran to stand trial on corruption charges. Asgharzadeh, then a 23-year-old engineering student, remembers friends going to Tehran 's Grand Bazaar to buy a bolt cutter, a popular tool used by criminals, and the salesman saying: ``You do not look like thieves! You certainly want to open up the US Embassy door with it!''

The society was ready to happen. It all happened very fast, Asgharzadeh said. We cut the chains at the embassy door. Some of us climb the walls and occupy the embassy complex very quickly. ''

Like other former students, Asgharzadeh said the plan had simply been to organize a sit-in. But the situation soon got out of control. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the long-time exiled Shiite cleric whose return to Iran caused the revolution, supported the seizure of power. He would use that popular fisherman to expand the power of the Islamists.

We, the students, take responsibility for the first 48 hours of the takeover, said Asgharzadeh. Later, it was out of our hands since the late supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the establishment supported him.

He added: `` Our plan was one of students, not professional and temporary. ''

As time went by, naive students slowly realized that Americans as a whole would not join their revolution. While a rescue attempt by the US military would fail and Carter would lose to Ronald Reagan in the midst of the crisis, the US UU. They expressed concern about the hostages by showing yellow ribbons and counting the days of their captivity.

As the months went by, things only got worse. Asgharzadeh said he thought it would end once the sha left America or later with his death in Egypt in July 1980. It was not so.

`` A few months after the acquisition, it seemed to become a rotten fruit that hung from a tree and nobody had the courage to tear it down and settle the matter, '' he said. `` There was a lot of public opinion support behind the movement in society. The society felt that it had hit the United States, a superpower, in the mouth and people believed that the takeover showed the United States that its democratic revolution had stabilized. ''

However, he had not done so. The eight-year war between Iran and Iraq would erupt during the crisis. The hostage crisis and later the war boosted the position of the uncompromising who sought the strict implementation of their version of Islamic beliefs.

Seizing or attacking diplomatic posts remains a tactic of Iranian hard-liners to this day. A mob stormed the British Embassy in Tehran in 2011, while another attacked diplomatic posts of Saudi Arabia in 2016, which led to diplomatic ties being cut between Tehran and Riyadh. And Iran will commemorate the 40th anniversary of US Embassy takeover on Monday by staging a rally in front of the Tehran compound where it was located.

However, Asgharzadeh denied that the then nascent Revolutionary Guard of Iran directed the inauguration of the US Embassy, ​​although he said he was informed before the attack for fear that security forces will assault the complex and take it back. Many at that time believed that the shah would launch a coup, as in 1953, to regain power.

`` In a very limited way, we informed one of the Guard units and agreed to protect the embassy from outside, '' Asgharzadeh said. `` The claim (by the intransigent) on the role of the Guard 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 US, 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.''

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