Last updated on November 2, 2019
His revolutionary fervor diminished by the years who have turned his dark brown hair whitened, among those Australian student leaders of this 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover says he regrets that the seizure of the diplomatic compound along with the 444-day hostage tragedy which followed.
Talking to The Associated Press before Monday’s 40th anniversary of this assault, Ebrahim Asgharzadeh confessed the consequences of the catastrophe still reverberate as tensions remain high between the U.S. and Iran over Tehran’s declining atomic deal with world forces.
He also contested a revisionist history currently being supplied by fans of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard that they led the assault, insisting all of the blame rested with the Islamist pupils that let the catastrophe twist out of control.
“Like Jesus Christ, I keep all the sins in my shoulders,” Asgharzadeh explained.
At the moment, what resulted in the 1979 takeover stayed obscure to Americans who for weeks could only watch in horror as TV newscasts revealed Iranian protests in the embassy.
However, for months, Iran confronted widespread unrest which ranges from separatist attacks, employee revolts, and internal power struggles. Police noted for work but not for obligation, allowing chaos such as millennial pupils temporarily seizing the U.S. Embassy.
In this power vacuum, then-President Jimmy Carter let the shah to find medical care from New York. That lit the fuse to the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover, though initially the Islamist students contended over which embassy to grab. A student leader called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who afterward became president in 2005, contended that they should catch the Soviet Embassy compound in Tehran since leftists had triggered political chaos.
Asgharzadeh, a 23-year-old engineering student, recalls friends visiting Tehran’s Grand Bazaar to purchase a bolt cutter, a popular tool used by offenders, along with the salesman stating: “You don’t seem like thieves! You certainly need to start the U.S. Embassy door with it”
“The society has been prepared for it to occur. Everything happened so quickly,” Asgharzadeh explained. “We cut the chains onto the embassy’s gate. Several people grew the walls and we occupied the embassy compound extremely fast.”
Like other former pupils, Asgharzadeh stated that the program was only to point a sit-in. However, the situation soon spun from the hands. He’d use that hot angler to enlarge the Islamists’ power.
“Afterwards, it had been from our hands because the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the institution supported it.”
He added: “Our strategy was among pupils, temporary and unprofessional.”
As time goes on, it gradually dawned on the innocent pupils that Americans as a whole would not combine their revolution. Even though a rescue effort by the U.S. army would neglect and Carter would shed to Ronald Reagan amid the catastrophe, the U.S. as entire expressed worry about the hostages by displaying yellow ribbons and counting the days of the captivity.
As the weeks passed, matters just got worse. Asgharzadeh stated he believed it would end when the shah left America or after his death in Egypt in July 1980. It did not.
“A couple of months following the takeover, it seemed to be turning to some rotten fruit dangling out of a tree and nobody had the guts to carry it down and solve the issue,” he explained. “There was lots of public opinion support behind the movement in society. The society believed it’d slapped America, a superpower, on the mouth and individuals thought that the takeover was America that their revolution was stabilized.”
It was not, however. The hostage crisis and after the war encouraged the place of hard-liners who hunted the strict execution of the own version of Islamic beliefs.
Seizing or assaulting diplomatic articles stays a strategy of Iranian hard-liners for this day.
But, Asgharzadeh denied that Iran’s then-nascent Revolutionary Guard led the U.S. Embassy takeover, even though he said it had been advised ahead of the assault over worries that security forces would storm the chemical and retake it. Many at the time considered the shah would establish a coup, such as in 1953, to recover power.
“In a really limited manner, we advised among those Guard’s units and they admitted to safeguard the embassy from out,” Asgharzadeh explained. I’m the principal narrator of this episode and I am still living.”
In the years since, Asgharzadeh has come to be a reformist politician and served jail time because of his or her views. He’s contended that Iran should work toward enhancing ties with all the U.S., a challenging job amid President Donald Trump’s maximalist effort against Tehran.
“It’s too tough to state when the connections between Tehran and Washington can be revived,” Asgharzadeh explained. “I don’t see any possibility “