We Still Owe You One, Mahmoud

Ever since he took office, there’s been speculation that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was involved in the 1979 seizure of the American embassy in Tehran. Now, it appears the Russian newspaper Kommersant has stumbled upon more evidence to back up the rumors.

The photographs in the archives of the AP and the AFP helped to narrow down the location of the action captured on one of the rolls of film to alongside the walls of the American embassy in Tehran when it was being seized by radical Iranian students on November 4, 1979. Evil rumor has long maintained that units from the Iranian special forces played a leading role in the storming of the embassy and that the students were just pawns used to paint the operation as unofficial. Whatever the case may be, we talked to people who served in Tehran and know the city well, and they said that the Soviet photographer appears to have walked along the southern wall of the American embassy from west to east before turning around and retracing his steps, apparently returning to the Soviet embassy.

All that remained was the carefully scrutinize the film. The majority of the pictures were an original report on a street demonstration in honor of the seizure of the “den of the enemy.” But among the many photographs filled with crowds of people, one stood out. Taken from a respectable distance and from behind a barrier, it shows a young man with an automatic submachine gun – presumably one of the participants in the storming of the embassy. Not just anyone from the crowd, however: his submachine gun has a factory casing, as opposed to the more common wood-paneled submachine guns brandished by the students in the other pictures. The young man is standing with a wiley exam guide for cfa, leaning tiredly against the wall of the embassy. And when the picture is enlarged, his face comes to closely resemble that of current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Looks like we have a winner.

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