- Published: Monday, 04 November 2019
On November 4, 1979, the United States embassy in Tehran was taken over by a group that described themselves as “student followers of the line of the Imam”. They took 52 US embassy employees and diplomats hostage for 444 days.
The hostage-takers went onto senior roles in the Iranian Regime, most famously former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and many were wrongly described as "moderates" by the West, despite their distinctly un-moderate actions. So, where are the hostage-takers today?
Masoumeh Ebtekar, the spokeswoman of the “Student followers of the line of the Imam”, is now Iran's Vice President for women and family affairs. The woman is known as “Sister Mary”, who defended the detention of the Americans, also served as Vice President and Head of the environmental preservation organization
Hossein Sheikholislam, a council member of the group and member of the team reviewing US embassy documents, is now an advisor to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Sheikholislam previously served as Deputy for International Affairs to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Iran’s Ambassador to Syria, an Iranian MP, and Deputy Foreign Minister for Middle Eastern affairs.
Mohammad-Ali (Aziz) Jafari, who was one of the plotters of the US embassy takeover, is currently in charge of the “Baqiollah Cultural and Social Headquarters” and was previously Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Reza Seifollahi, who was a main plotter of the embassy takeover and member of the group’s central council, has served as Political Deputy of the Secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), deputy coordinator of the regime’s Expediency Council, the commander of IRGC Intelligence, first commander of the State Security Forces (SSF), and Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs.
Habibollah Bitaraf, who was also a main plotter of the embassy takeover and member of the group’s central council, served as Iran’s Energy Minister, the Governor of Yazd Province, and the Deputy Minister of Energy for Educational Affairs.
Hamid Abutalebi as Political Advisor to the President, but previously held the positions of Deputy Foreign Minister for political affairs, the regime’s Ambassador to a number of Western countries including Italy, Belgium, Australia, and the European Union, General Manager of Political Affairs in the Foreign Ministry, and a member of Foreign Ministry’s Strategic Council.
He was also involved in the 1993 assassination of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) representative Mohammad-Hossein Naqdi in Italy.
IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan is now Advisor to the Supreme Leader on Defense Industries and Army Support, but previously served as Defense Minister, Vice President and chairman of the Shahid Foundation (Bonyad-e Shahid), Deputy Defense Minister, and Deputy Chief of the IRGC Air Force.
He joined the IRGC after the release of the hostages and was in Beirut during the attacks on the US embassy and Marine barracks.
IRGC Brigadier General Ezzatollah Zarghami served as head of the state Radio and Television Corporation.
Alireza Afshar is now head of the Supreme Delegation for the IRGC School of thought but previously served as Deputy Minister of Interior for Political and Social Affairs, Chief of the IRGC General Staff, Commander of the Basij Force, and Deputy Commander of the Armed Forces for Cultural Affairs.
Mohsen Aminzadeh served as Deputy Foreign Minister for Asian Affairs.
Hossein Sharifzadegan served as a member of “the Islamic partnership front” and General Manager of the Social Security Organization and Minister of Social Security.
Mohammad Mehdi Rahmati was in charge of the President’s Office of Planning and Strategic Oversight.
Mohammdreza Behzadian-Nejad served as Deputy Interior Minister for Economic Affairs and head of the Commerce Office of Tehran.
The seizure of the US embassy marked the beginning of the regime’s 40 years of hostage-taking; a policy that has continued ever since. Now, the Regime is proposing to do it again at the US embassy in Iraq. Hossein Shariatmadari, known at the Supreme Leader’s representative in the Kayhan paper, wrote on October 30 that Iran-backed militias in Iraq should take over the US Embassy.