The administration was reviewing its files on Iranian president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad after the hostage comments were brought to light by The Associated Press.
"I have no information, but obviously his involvement raises many questions," Bush said in an interview with foreign reporters. The administration said it would have to deal with Ahmadinejad, regardless of his past.
Ahmadinejad has been the ultraconservative mayor of Tehran and, according to his associates, was a member of the radical student group that planned the embassy takeover in 1979. But his associates say he opposed the plan and did not take part in holding hostages because he preferred instead to target the Soviet Embassy.
If their drive to get nukes and missiles and their support for terrorism including harboring al Qaeda thugs isn't enough to gain American support for regime change, having this charge confirmed would pretty much guarantee a Congressional declaration of war if needed.
It will be interesting to see how the always anti-war Left works up a defense of this thug, a figurative patient zero for modern Islamist terrorism, and conjuring up the worst days of America held hostage under the depressingly ineffective Carter presidency. It could only be better if the Carter Center verified the Iran election that put Ahmadinejad in power.
And as a bonus, Ahmadinejad's defense is that he couldn't possibly have participated in the American embassy takeover because he favored taking over the Soviet embassy. Could this be embarassing enough for Putin to get him to cancel the nuclear fuel transfer to Iran pending in the next several months?
Sometimes our enemies are amazingly cooperative.