The Iranian Mojahedin
,Ervand Abrahamian,Yale University Press,1989,p.57.A recent history ofthehostage crisis by David Harris (
The Crisis:The President,the Prophet,the Shah – 1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam
,Little Brown,2004) states that the takeover was first advanced by Ibrahim Asgarzadeh,a stu-dent at Tehran’s Aryamehr University ofTechnology,and two other students.
Takeover in Tehran
,Massoumeh Ebtekar,Talon Books,Canada,2000,p.234.David Harris,in his recent bookThe Crisis,makes no reference at all to the Mujahedin,which indicates the organization’s lack ofinvolvement.
The Crisis:The President,the Prophet,the Shah – 1979 and the Coming ofMilitant Islam
,by David Harris,Little,Brown and Company,2004,p.236.
The Iranian Mojahedin
,Ervand Abrahamian,Yale University Press,1989,p.57.
the Shah, once he was removed from power, the MEK and Khomeini becamepolitical adversaries.Two days after the revolution, Rajavi and a number of senior colleges met with Khomeini.In the meeting, Rajavi emphasized the importance of freedom. Subsequently, Khomeinisent his son, Ahmad, to offer the MEK top ministry positions in the new government, butonly on the condition that the MEK recognize the clerics as the supreme authority. TheMEK declined. Since its inception, the organization had fought for political freedom andthe separation of power. The MEK refused to compromise its principals and a powerstruggle ensued.The MEK initially followed a policy of non-confrontation with Khomeini in the hope of playing the role of the loyal opposition in the new government. When the hostage crisiserupted on November 4, 1979, the MEK chose not to challenge Khomeini, who hadimmediately endorsed the takeover.On the day the Iranian students stormed the embassy, Khomeini blamed America as thesource of all evil in a speech to a group of university students. “It was later revealed that theseuniversity students were organized by Hojjat al-Islam Khoiniha, a prominent member of theIRP and the leader of the Tehran University
[a morality guard organization].”
According to Massoumeh Ebtekar, who was the spokesperson during the hostage crisis forthe radical students, the MEK “had been opposed to the takeover and the confrontation with America from the very first.”
Ebtekar, a chemical engineering student who becameknown as Sister Mary, “held center stage at the front gate whenever the students needed tomake a statement to the press in English.”
For Iranians, the hostage crisis was “predominately an internal crisis rooted in the constitutionalstruggle.”
Under the cloud of the embassy crisis, the clerics rushed to ratify their proposedconstitution, which the MEK refused to endorse. The original document, modeled on DeGaulle’s constitution, had been altered by the Assembly of Experts, shifting power from thepresident and elected deputies to senior clerics. The MEK boycotted its ratification.
FOREIGN POLICY CHALLENGES AND CHOICES