Controversies Surrounding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Early Student Activism

Early Student Activism

According to Iran Focus, soon after attending Elm-o Sanaat University in 1975 to study engineering, Ahmadinejad was caught up in the Islamic revolution of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Ahmadinejad founded the Islamic Student Association at his university. By 1979, he became a representative of Office for Strengthening of Unity Between Universities and Theological Seminaries, later known as OSU. The OSU was organized by Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, one of Khomeini's top advisors. Members of the OSU central council, including Ahmadinejad, Ibrahim Asgharzadeh, Mohsen (Mahmoud) Mirdamadi, Mohsen Kadivar, Mohsen Aghajari, and Abbas Abdi, were regularly received by Khomeini himself. The OSU leadership played a key role in the crackdown on dissident university professors and students during the Islamic Cultural Revolution of 1980. Many professors and students who did not support Khomeini were arrested and executed.

In voting for storming the US embassy, Ahmadinejad objected, arguing that the protest ought to be directed at the Soviet embassy, but they were outvoted. Ahmadinejad has said that he did not support the embassy takeover until Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini endorsed it. The endorsement came late on November 4, 1979, the day the embassy was seized.

According to al-Jazeera, when OSU leaders proposed taking over the US embassy in 1979, Ahmadinejad proposed taking over the Soviet embassy at the same time.

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