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Iranian student leader from 1979 U.S. embassy takeover says he has regrets

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Iranian student leader from 1979 U.S. embassy takeover says he has regrets

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His radical fervor diminished by the years who have turned his dark brown hair whitened, among those Iranian student leaders of this 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover says he regrets the seizure of the diplomatic compound as well as the 444-day hostage crisis that followed.Speaking to The Associated Press before Monday’s 40th anniversary of this assault, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh confessed that the consequences of the catastrophe still reverberate as tensions remain high between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran’s collapsing atomic deal with world powers.

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Asgharzadeh cautioned others against following in his footsteps, regardless of the takeover becoming enshrined in mythology. He also disputed a history now being offered by supporters of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard that they directed the assault, insisting of the blame rested with the students that let the catastrophe spin out of control. “Like Jesus Christ, I bear all the sins in my shoulders,” Asgharzadeh said.At the moment, what resulted in the 1979 takeover remained obscure to Americans who for months can only watch in horror because TV newscasts revealed Iranian protests in the embassy. Popular anger against the U.S. was suspended in the 1953 CIA-engineered coup that toppled Iran’s elected prime minister and also cemented the energy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

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The shah, dying from cancer, fled Iran in February 1979, paving the way for its own Islamic Revolution. However, for months, Iran faced widespread unrest which range from separatist attacks, employee revolts and internal power struggles. Police reported for work but not for duty, allowing chaos like Marxist students briefly seizing the U.S. Embassy.In this power vacuum, then-President Jimmy Carter allowed the shah to find medical treatment in New York. That lit the fuse for the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover, though initially the Islamist students contended over which embassy to seize. A student leader called contended since leftists had caused political chaos, that they should catch the Soviet Embassy compound in Tehran.

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Asgharzadeh, a 23-year-old engineering student, remembers friends going to Tehran’s Grand Bazaar to purchase a bolt cutter, a popular tool used by offenders, along with the salesman saying:”You do not look like thieves! You certainly need to open the U.S. Embassy door with it!”

“The society has been ready for it to happen. Everything happened so quickly,” Asgharzadeh said. “We cut the chains on the embassy’s gate. Some people grew up the walls and the embassy compound was occupied by us fast. “Like other former students, Asgharzadeh stated the plan had been only to stage a sit-in. However, the situation soon spun out of their hands. The revolution was sparked by the cleric whose return to Iran, ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, gave his support. He would use that angle that is hot to enlarge the Islamists’ power.

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“Afterwards, it was outside of our hands since the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the establishment supported it. “He added:”Our plan was among students, temporary and unprofessional. “As time goes on, it slowly dawned on the naive students that Americans wouldn’t combine their revolution.

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Matters only got worse as the months passed. Asgharzadeh stated he believed it would end when the shah left after his death in Egypt or America . It did not. “A couple of months after the takeover, it seemed to be turning into a rotten fruit dangling from a tree and nobody had the courage to take it down and resolve the issue,” he said. “There was lots of public opinion support behind the move in the society. The society believed it had slapped America, a superpower, on the mouth and individuals thought that the takeover proved to America that their democratic revolution had been stabilized. “It was not, though. The War would break out during the catastrophe. The hostage crisis and after the war encouraged the position of hard-liners who hunted strict implementation of their version of Muslim beliefs.

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Seizing or assaulting posts stays a tactic of 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 ties being cut between Riyadh and Tehran. And Iran will commemorate the 40th anniversary of U.S. Embassy takeover on Monday by staging a rally before the Tehran compound where it was located.However, Asgharzadeh denied that Iran’s then-nascent Revolutionary Guard directed the U.S. Embassy takeover, although he said it was advised ahead of the assault over fears that security forces would storm the compound and retake it. Many at the time considered the shah would establish a coup, like in 1953, to regain power.

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“At a really limited manner, we advised among those Guard’s units and they admitted to protect the embassy from outside,” Asgharzadeh said. I am the principal narrator of this incident and I am still alive. “In the years since, Asgharzadeh has come to be a reformist politician and served jail time because of his or her views. He has contended that Iran should work toward enhancing ties with all the U.S., a challenging task amid President Donald Trump’s maximalist effort against Tehran. “It’s too tough to state when the relations between Tehran and Washington could be restored,” Asgharzadeh said. “I do not see any possibility ”



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