Sunday, July 03, 2005

Xinhua - Iran: Hostage-taking allegation against Ahmadinejad sheer lies

Xinhua - English: "Iran: Hostage-taking allegation against Ahmadinejad sheer lies 2005-07-03 20:32:49

TEHRAN, July 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran on Sunday vehemently rejected a recent allegation that its President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was involved in the 1979 US hostage taking, terming it as "sheer lies",the official IRNA news agency reported.

In November 1979, five months after Iran's Islamic Revolution, a group of students, self-proclaimed to be members of "Students Following the Path of Imam", took over the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 staff hostage for 444 days.

The incident led Washington to break ties with Tehran in 1980.

In a recent interview with the Washington Times newspaper, several former American hostages said they remembered Ahmadinejad, who won Iran's presidential election on June 24, took part in the hostage-taking.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said that such accusations are "sheer lies, unfounded and baseless".

"The Zionist and US circles adopted a false approach towards Iran's presidential election even before the polling and sometimes such a false approach was intensified," Asefi said.

Ahmadinejad's assistant has dismissed the allegation, saying he was a member of the hard-line Islamic student group, but he opposed taking hostages.

On Friday, several leading hostage-takers also denied Ahmadinejad's role in the incident.

Abdolhossein Rouholamini, one of the hostage-takers, said no student from University of Science and Technology, at which Ahmadinejad was studying at that time, participated in the hostage-taking.

"The hostage-takers were the students from Tehran University, Sharif University of Technology, Polytechnic University and National University," Rouholamini stressed."


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