SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A quarter-century after they were taken captive in Iran, five former American hostages say they got an unexpected reminder of their 444-day ordeal in the bearded face of Iran’s new president-elect. Watching coverage of Iran’s presidential election on television dredged up 25-year-old memories that prompted four of the former hostages to exchange e-mails. And those four realized they shared the same conclusion – the firm belief that President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been one of their Iranian captors.
“This is the guy. There’s no question about it,” said former hostage Chuck Scott, a retired Army colonel who lives in Jonesboro, Ga. “You could make him a blond and shave his whiskers, put him in a zoot suit and I’d still spot him.”
Scott and former hostages David Roeder, William J. Daugherty and Don A. Sharer told The Associated Press on Wednesday they have no doubt Ahmadinejad, 49, was one of the hostage-takers. A fifth ex-hostage, Kevin Hermening, said he reached the same conclusion after looking at photos.
Not everyone agrees. Former hostage and retired Air Force Col. Thomas E. Schaefer, of Peoria, Ariz., said he doesn’t recognize Ahmadinejad, by face or name, as one of his captors.
Several former students among the hostage-takers also said Ahmadinejad did not participate. And a close aide to Ahmadinejad denied the president-elect took part in the seizure of the embassy or in holding Americans hostage.