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U.S. Congress wants Iran embassy hostage-takers put on trial

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 7:30 pm    Post subject: U.S. Congress wants Iran embassy hostage-takers put on trial Reply with quote

U.S. Congress wants Iran embassy hostage-takers put on trial

Wed. 20 Jul 2005


Iran Focus

London, Jul. 20 – Several members of the United States Congress are expected to introduce a bill on Wednesday calling on the U.S. judicial authorities to begin legal proceedings against Iranians who were involved in the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and the subsequent captivity of 52 American hostages for 444 days, the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported today.

The bill’s principal sponsor, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Florida Republican who chairs the Sub-committee on the Middle East and Central Asia, said she and her colleagues in Congress want U.S. courts to try those suspected of taking part in the 1979 hostage-taking in Tehran.

The bill considers the event as falling under the provisions of counter-terrorism legislation and will require the federal government to investigate the involvement of the suspected hostage-takers “in cooperation with the hostages”.

The bill does not specifically mention Iran’s newly-elected ultra-conservative president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but his alleged involvement in the hostage-taking became a national issue in the United States earlier this month. Despite efforts by Iran’s clerical authorities to clear Ahmadinejad of any involvement in the 1979 hostage crisis, well-informed sources inside the Islamic regime insist that he was involved. Six former American hostages publicly identified Ahmadinejad as being one of the hostage-takers and interrogators of the hostages.

Ahmadinejad is not a lonely star and many of the radical Islamists who took part in the hostage-taking in 1979 rose to senior positions in the Iranian government. They include, among others, Hossein Moussavian, who chairs the foreign affairs committee in Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and is also a senior member of the country’s nuclear talks team; Massoumeh Ebtekar, the outgoing Vice-president for the Environment, who was the spokeswoman for the hostage-takers; Ebtekar’s husband Mohammad Hashemi, who was until recently a Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the secret police; Minister of Energy Habibollah Bitaraf; Mohsen Mirdamadi, former chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Policy and National Security Committee; Mohsen Aminzadeh, currently Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Asia and Pacific; and Reza Seifollahi, who later became a Revolutionary Guards brigadier general and chief of police and is now a senior policy coordinator in the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The new bill comes at a time when more than 300 lawmakers have lent their support to The Iran Freedom Support Act, which was introduced by Ros-Lehtinen in January.

"This bill seeks to hold Iran accountable for its actions, and to help neutralize threats form this pariah state that seeks to harm our nation and persists in its efforts to acquire materials and technology to construct even deadlier weapons," the Republican lawmaker said.

“Election of a leader with Ahmadinejad's past is par for the course by Iran, a rogue nation whose unsavory behavior and associations render it one of the United States' greatest national security threats”, Ros-Lehtinen added.

"In particular, Iran's nuclear program combined with its support for terrorist organizations worldwide, raises the prospect of a potential transfer of WMD materials or components to terrorist organizations," the Florida Congresswoman said.
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