Iran General NewsUS calls on Iran to come clean over president's...

US calls on Iran to come clean over president’s past

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AFP: The United States pressed Iran Thursday to come clean over the past of its new president-elect, amid charges he played a key role in taking US diplomats hostage in Tehran 26 years ago. The State Department issued the call after President George W. Bush said the accusation leveled by five former hostages against Iranian hardliner Mahmood Ahmadinejad “raises many questions.” AFP

WASHINGTON – The United States pressed Iran Thursday to come clean over the past of its new president-elect, amid charges he played a key role in taking US diplomats hostage in Tehran 26 years ago.

The State Department issued the call after President George W. Bush said the accusation leveled by five former hostages against Iranian hardliner Mahmood Ahmadinejad “raises many questions.”

“The Iranian government, with respect to this question, has an obligation to speak definitively concerning these questions that have been raised in public by these stories,” said department spokesman Sean McCormack.

“I want to assure you that we are going to look into this question seriously,” McCormack said.

“We, as a government, are working to establish the facts surrounding this story.

“But I do want to say one thing, and that is to underscore the fact that we have not forgotten — we have not forgotten — the fact that 51 of our diplomats were held for 444 days, that they were taken hostage.”

McCormack said the United States was involved in a “government-wide effort” to investigate the allegations against Ahmadinejad. “I would expect that we will, as best we can, seek to speak to some of the former hostages.”

But he appeared to minimize chances for any direct contact on the matter with Iran, which has no diplomatic ties with Washington and is a member of Bush’s “axis of evil.”

Asked whether the administration would query Tehran, McCormack said: “I think what we will do is, as a government, we will do our best to establish the facts with the people here in the United States, including the hostages.”

A senior State Department official, who asked not to be named, said US officials “need to scrub the files, go back and make sure that we know everything that is possible to know about this.”

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