Former Hostage Remembers Ahmadinejad - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Hostage Remembers Ahmadinejad



Iran President Ahmadinejad's disputed landslide victory is of particular interest to former U.S. Foreign Service Diplomat, Kathryn Koob, an Iowa native, now teaching at Wartburg College in Waverly.

Koob says she remembers Ahmadinejad as one of the militant students she encountered, as an American hostage in Iran for those fateful 444 days, which began November 4, 1979.

Jesup native, Kathryn Koob, was one of only two women held hostage the entire 444 days, after radical Iranian students took control of the U.S. Embassy Compound in Tehran in 1979.

Now, thirty years-years later, from her office at Wartburg College, Kathryn Kobb tells KWWL-TV, she remembers the man we now know as the President of Iran.

Koob says, "He was certainly part of the hostage situation to the best of my knowledge. I took one look at him and said, I know him. I know he was on the compound. He may not have been there that first day, and he has denied being there the first day. And, one of the pictures that people tried to say was him, I don't believe is him. But, he certainly was there during the course of the 444 days."

There are reports the U.S. State Department has launched an investigation to determine if Ahmadinejad was one of the original hostage-takers, or someway involved. Kathryn Koob says Ahmadinejad appears to be a man of considerable contrast today.

She notes, "Ahmaddinejad is a very hard-line inherent to the principles of Islam, but he is also a very compassionate individual in many respects and has, at heart, the interests of some of the poorest people of the country. But, the two things don't always mesh in politics, so there are reasons why he is very, very unpopular."

President Obama says the U.S. should and will stay out of the Iran election situation, and Kathryn Koob certainly agrees with that. She remembers well the results of the close alliance the U.S. once had with Iran before the hostages crisis, with the Shah of Iran and Iran's oil. You can date that back to 1953.

Kathryn Koob says, while her memories of him are general in nature, four or five of the other hostages also remember Ahmadinejad. She says some of them still have very specific memories of what he had done and the encounters they had with him.

Online Reporter:  Ron Steele


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