Iran General NewsUS pursues inquiry into Iranian president-elect's past

US pursues inquiry into Iranian president-elect’s past

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AFP: The United States is still looking into the past of Iran’s president-elect Mahmood Ahmadinejad, and the White House said Friday it would not be surprised if accusations that he took part in the 1979 US hostage crisis in Tehran were true. “We continue to look into it and establish all the facts. I don’t think it should be a surprise to anyone if it turns out to be true,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. AFP

WASHINGTON – The United States is still looking into the past of Iran’s president-elect Mahmood Ahmadinejad, and the White House said Friday it would not be surprised if accusations that he took part in the 1979 US hostage crisis in Tehran were true.

“We continue to look into it and establish all the facts. I don’t think it should be a surprise to anyone if it turns out to be true,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

“Given the nature of the regime and his own past, I don’t think it should be surprising,” he told reporters.

Five former hostages in the 444-day siege after the US embassy was taken over by radical Iranian students in November 1979 have said they remembered seeing Ahmadinejad.

Iranian veterans of the standoff flatly denied that he was involved.

The White House spokesman reaffirmed US criticism of Iran’s election last Friday, which Ahmadinejad won.

He said only “hand-picked candidates” had been allowed to run and that the election was “well short of free and fair”.

President George W. Bush on Thursday demanded answers over whether Ahmadinejad was involved.

Some 90 people inside the embassy compound were taken hostage in 1979. Fifty-two remained in captivity for 444 days until January 20, 1981, when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as US president.

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