February 4, 2009


Talk to US, says leader of embassy takeover (Jonathan Spollen, February 05. 2009, The National)

As a mastermind of the takeover, [Ebrahim] Asgharzadegh, then a 24-year-old engineering student, became a golden child of the revolution – seen as patriotic, devout and fearless in his quest to rid Iran of “western imperialism”.

In the aftermath, he landed a cushy job working with a young Seyed Mohammad Khatami at the official Keyhan newspaper, before going to serve in the army during the eight-year war with Iraq.

Three decades later, things have changed.

The silver-haired Mr Asgharzadegh is hardly recognisable from the bearded youth who stormed the compound that afternoon. His politics have undergone a similar transformation.

“I don’t agree with this kind of action anymore,” he said, referring to the takeover of the embassy, adding that he scolded the students who broke into the British Embassy in December to protest against Israel’s offensive in Gaza. “It is a part of history. It cannot happen again.”

He began having doubts about the regime after the eight-year war when, having affirmed its sovereignty, Iran turned inward, rejecting attempts from within to modernise and refusing to engage with the outside world.

Before long, the one-time darling of the regime became one of its biggest critics and even spent time in prison for his opposition; the man who played a major role in severing relations with the United States is now a vocal advocate for re-establishing ties. [...]

Mending relations with the United States would also help Iran “obtain international trust” and enable the country to focus on resolving its domestic problems, he said.

But the Republic can still be saved.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 4, 2009 6:00 PM
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