Thursday, June 30, 2005

Q&A w/ David Roeder, Iranian hostage in '79

Hostage Roeder: "Ahmadinejad Threatened to Kidnap My Son"

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You are claiming that the newly elected president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was one of those involved in taking and holding you hostage in Iran from November 1979 to January 1981. How can you be sure?

Roeder: He was present at at least a third of my personal interrogations, which took place nightly for a little over a month early on in the hostage-taking situation. He seemed to be calling the shots, but from the background. The interrogators would ask a question and it would then be translated from Farsi into English by a woman interpreter.


SPIEGEL ONLINE: How did you realize that your hostage-taker had been elected as president of Iran?

Roeder: I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the elections because whoever runs there has to be approved by the theocracy and the mullahs. It didn't surprise anybody that the winner would be a hardliner approved by the theocracy. But when I saw him on television the other night, I knew immediately. It's his mannerisms more than anything else that stopped me cold. I have no doubt that it's the same guy.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You don't think you could have forgotten him after all these years?

Roeder: No, absolutely not. Not when he was involved in threatening my son.


Note he doesn't mention the picture, but seeing him on TV as to what sparked his memory.