Former Iran Hostage-Taker Criticizes Carter Prize
A former ringleader of the U.S. embassy hostage drama in Tehran said on Saturday that Jimmy Carter, who was U.S. president at the time, did not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.
He would have deserved a peace prize today if he had taken serious steps toward peace during his presidency," said Abbas Abdi, one of the leaders of the student militants who seized the U.S. embassy in 1979.
The students, who were trying to force Washington to extradite the deposed Shah of Iran for trial, held 52 U.S. hostages at the embassy for 444 days.
During that time, Carter broke off diplomatic ties with Tehran and suffered the embarrassment of a botched attempt to rescue the hostages
In 1981, Carter was swept from office by Ronald Reagan, a humbling end to an optimistic presidency but the start of a high-profile semi-retirement.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited on Friday Carter's "vital contribution" to the peace accord between Israel and Egypt and his efforts in conflict resolution on several continents in giving him the $1 million prize.
"Those who award the prize have their own criteria which might be justifiable for them," said Abdi, who like many of the former hostage-takers, is now a leading voice for reform in Iran.
"We have never seen a U.S. president who prefers the interest of other countries to his country's national interest," he told Reuters.
Iran's government has given no reaction to Carter's award and officials could not be reached for comment.
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