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Iran News Round Up: Anniversary of Embassy Takeover


[Thanks to Ali Alfoneh and Ahmad Majidyar for their compilation; (E) signifies English link]

Diplomacy: Embassy Seizure Anniversary
(Nov. 4, 1979)

  • Alef News Agency publishes memoirs of some of the members of the Students of the Line of the Imam about the embassy take over: Mrs. Forouz Rajai-Far,  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ebrahim Asghar-Zadeh, Zarghami, Khoeini-ha, Mir-Damadi, Masoumeh Ebtekar, and some unnamed students.
  • Fars News Agency releases memoirs of Abbas Salimi-Namin of the embassy take over.
  • Agah-Sazi discusses Khomeini’s views on the seizure of the U.S. embassy (here and here):
  • “Another intelligent move of the Imam made the students certain of his intentions and Hojjat al-Eslam Mohtashami-Pour says in this regard:
    • ‘On November 1, 1979, His holiness the Imam sent a message to the Iranian nation which became the beginning of a new movement for the Muslim students, and those knowing ones of the society received the message and realized it. In part of the message the Imam said: It is the duty of pupils, university students, and theological seminary students to expand their attacks against the U.S. and Israel and force America to extradite the criminal and dismissed Shah of Iran and strongly condemn this conspiracy once again.’
    • Mir-Damadi continues: ‘We first thought that the Imam was aware of the affair [negotiations between Prime Minister Bazargan and Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi with Zbignew Brezinski] and that his words are a reaction against this [negotiations with the U.S.] but afterwards we found out that the Imam was not aware of the affair. Anyway, this message [of Khomeini] convinced us that in case we should do this [take over the embassy], it would not be opposed to the viewpoints and desires of the Imam, and when the deed was done, his Holiness the Imam supported it. In the end, as we expected, the Imam, through the blessed Hajj Ahmad-Agha Khomeini [Khomeini's son] told the students: ‘It is a good place you have taken, preserve it forcefully.’” 
    • According to Agah-Sazi Mohtashami-Pour continues: ”The Imam gave his declaration of support and was delighted that informed students and clergymen understood his message and realized it.” 
    • Agah-Sazi also quotes Ahmad Khomeini: “As the Leader of the Revolution, Imam Khomeini was the first individual to support the courageous deed of the students and considered it the natural reaction of the nation against countless crimes of America.” 
    • Agah-Sazi also quotes Khoeini-ha’s account of a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Khomeini after the take over of the embassy: “There were also other matters with regard to which we asked for advice of the Imam. But this time it was in the presence of some student brothers. The matter was that after the take over of the Den [the U.S. Embassy] the transitional government resigned in the hope that the Imam would not accept it and would force the students to leave the Den. After wide spread criticism of why two members of the transitional government met with Brzezinski, the Carter administration’s national security advisor, the head of the transitional government [Mehdi Bazargan] explained and, in order to coordinate the positioning of the students with regard to his resignation, I along with some of the brothers, including Mr. Mirdamadi, Asghar-Zadeh and maybe also Seif-Allahi went to his Holiness the Imam in Qom and after conversation and getting answers to our questions, and while also seeing the Imam’s unease with regard to the head of transitional government’s [Bazargan's] interview explaining the meeting with Brzezinski, the Imam ordered the students to take a position and also mentioned a few points which were to be included in the declaration of the students. I must say that until that day I have never seen the Imam face so infuriated as that day.”
    • Mohtashami-Pour also expands upon earlier explanations: “One dare say, before the position and opinion of the Imam and his open and official declaration of support, no one, would approve of take over of the Den of Espionage, regardless how holy and important the deed was. This lack of support and in some cases strong opposition was because of fear of the Great Satan, and in other cases Westoxification or dependency of individuals or groups to the West or respect for Super powers as the leaders of the global village, or because of respect for international rules and conventions…”
    • Agah-Sazi also publishes a survey of Grand Ayatollah Khomeini’s comments on the hostage affair.
  • Reza Seif-Allahi, former hostage-taker and current deputy coordinator of the Office of the Expediency Council, defends the embassy take over and hostage-taking.
  • (E) Iran marks embassy seizure.

Politics: General

  • Ahmadinejad rules out presence at Kordan’s impeachment assembly. Interior Minister Ali Kordan is facing an impeachment hearing at Parliament over his allegedly fake credentials. Speaking to IRNA news agency, the president said, “Ministers should be impeached on the basis of their performance. Therefore, the minister’s impeachment lacks legal basis and I am not going to attend the session.” Ahmadinejad also referred to last week’s incident in Parliament, in which the head of the Government’s Office in Parliament was reportedly slapped in the face by an MP from Tehran over allegations that the official was distributing checks to lawmakers in an effort to encourage them to withdraw support from Kordan’s impeachment. Ahmadinejad describes the incident as a “personal mistake” by the official and ensured such incidents would not occur again.
    • Parliament Chairman Ali Larijani has dismissed Mohammad Abbasi, the Head of the Government’s Office in Parliament, over the accusation that the official attempt to bribe MPs to avoid Interior Minister Ali Kordan’s impeachment.
  • Saeed Hussein Mareshi, spokesman of the Executives of Construction Party (Hezb-e Kaargozaaraan-e Saazandegi), strongly criticizes Ahmadinejad and his administration.
    • Ahmadinejad has to answer to so many questions. I am very disappointed that neither Iranian politicians nor reverent spiritual authority voices people’s concerns.
    • This nation trusted Ahmadinejad. Was it fair to exploit their trust against them? The nation’s funeral is left unattended.
    • If there is an actual plan to distribute cash subsidies, why is the amount just 50,000 tomans. Each Iranian deserves a share of 150,000 tomans. Why are you telling lies?
    • Appointing an official with fake credentials has no precedence in Iranian history. [He alludes to the appointment of Interior Minister Ali Kordan, who is impeached by the Parliament over allegations of holding a fake doctoral degree from Oxford.]
    • Many of us supported normalization of relations with the United States. And if we come to power, we will yet again back such a stance.




  • Commentary in Kabulpress says refugees in Iran will be hard hit by Tehran’s recent subsidy plan. The author accuses the Iranian government of plotting to expel two million refugees living in the country.
  • (E) Afghan province bordering Iran faces deteriorating security.
    • Factory owners and traders in Herat Province have warned that investors will withdraw from the province if the government fails to clamp down on criminals.
    • Herat is suffering one of the highest rates of kidnappings in the country.
    • The Union of Herat (AUH) says only 100 out of 250 factories in the province are currently operating. The rest are closed due to worsening security.
    • Iran has built a new industrial city in the border area of Herat and the city’s authorities have urged Herat’s businessmen to invest in the project.
    • Many residents in Herat have recently left the province to find jobs in neighboring Iran.
  • Afghan MPs calls for demarcation of Afghan waters. They accused neighboring countries, particularly Iran, of infringing upon Afghanistan’s waters.
  • (E) Iran-Afghan trade rules loosen.
    • Cars carrying four people will now be allowed to cross the border and reach the Iranian trade port of Chabahar. “We have created all the facilities for Afghan traders in Chabahar. They can invest in Chabahar, and can own lands there. We will do our best to do as much work as we can in Chabahar,” Head of the economic department of the Iranian embassy in Kabul, Hamid Raza Toosi, has said.
    • Head of the delegation of Afghanistan’s chamber of commerce and industry, Muhammad Qurban Haqjo, said: “The free trade area of Chabahar is a safe place for investment. Also the new transit law will be very effective, if the law is implemented.”
    • The news comes after the final section of a road linking the southern Iranian port of Chabahar with the southern Afghan city of Zeranj was finally completed this year. Afghan officials say the new road will free up trade between the two countries and will allow Indian goods access to the Afghan and central Asian markets, reducing Afghanistan’s reliance on Pakistan for imports.
  • (E) Opium seized on Afghan-Iran border; Iranian thief arrested in northern Afghanistan.
    • 158 kg opium was captured by Afghanistan’s western zone police while being smuggled from Herat Province to Iran.
    • According to Rahmatullah Safi, Afghanistan’s chief police commander in western zone, over 1000 kg narcotics and 50 smugglers have been arrested by police this year.
    • A resident of Kurdistan Province of Iran and his Afghan accomplice were arrested on theft charges in the northern Afghan province of Jauzjan. 


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