CNN’s Iranian-born chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour interviewed one of the leaders of the militant group which stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days for her “Amanpour” program. The interview, along with that of one of the hostages, is set to air this coming Sunday.
Wednesday’s Newsroom program previewed the upcoming episode of Amanpour’s program 12 minutes into the 12 pm Eastern hour, playing clips from the correspondent’s interviews with Jon Limbert, one of the employees of the embassy who spent more than a year in captivity, and Ebrahim Asgharzadeh, a leader of a group which supported Ayatollah Khomeni and held the Americans captive.
TONY HARRIS: Iranians took to the streets today by the tens of thousands. Take a look at the crowds. November 4th is a national holiday to mark the 30th anniversary of the U.S. hostage crisis. Fifty-two Americans were held for 444 days by Iranian students.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour talked to several key players in the saga for her show this weekend. Here’s a preview.
JON LIMBERT, FORMER U.S. HOSTAGE: We certainly didn’t expect it to last that long. They have said they didn’t expect it to last that long. But what they did, in effect, was to create a climate of lawlessness and mob rule- that they and their compatriots are today the greatest victims.
EBRAHIM ASGHARZADEH, ORGANIZED U.S. EMBASSY TAKEOVER (through translator): We were not radical students. We were revolutionary students, in the sense that we were defending our country, our people, our nation. But once the Shah was expelled from the country, no country accepted him because the world public opinion could not accept the behavior of a dictator. That meant that they recognized the Iranian revolution. However, step by step, the Shah brought himself closer to the United States, and once he entered America, we felt threatened.
HARRIS: The full interviews coming this weekend on ‘Amanpour,’ Sunday afternoon at 2 Eastern, only on CNN.
Amanpour’s past reporting on news stories involving Islam has betrayed her sympathies with the religion. Most notoriously, the correspondent’s “God’s Warriors” in 2007 gave favorable treatment to a young devout Muslim in the U.S., while treating Christian conservatives with hostility. Earlier in 2009, she highlighted the need for President Obama to “smooth...over and correct...the terrible rupture” between the U.S. and the Islamic world.