The Hostage named Deputy Secretary of State while hostage taker is in Evin!


The Hostage named Deputy Secretary of State while hostage taker is in Evin!
by Goudarz Eghtedari

In my opinion this is one of the best news of the week. Ambassador John Limbert was a guest of PSU's Iranian Studies advisory board and keynote speaker of the inauguration of Iranian studies at PSU few years ago. He speaks Persian fluently, is married to a Persian and his book on Shiraz at Hafez time is one of the best written about that period. I doubt if there would have been any better choice than John to take that torch at this time.

I asked John in my last interview with him on KBOO if he would be interested in becoming the first Ambassador to Iran, he hesitated to answer, but said I'll do whatever I can to help if asked, and this must be the moment. (listen to that interview here: //

It is also ironic that in the 30th anniversary of the take-over of the US Embassy in Tehran, a hostage taker is in Evin prison (Mohsen Mirdamadi) when a hostage becomes the Deputy Secretary of State in Iran affairs, may the hostage become an instrument to free the hostage taker!

To get a sense of Limbert's Persian speaking ability watch this video from his time in the embassy under siege with Khamenei when he was deputy defense secretary and visited the hostages: //

----- Forwarded Message ----
Sent: Sat, November 7, 2009 7:04:06 AM
Subject: Rozen: Limbert becomes State Iran DAS

John Limbert -- retired Foreign Service Officer, former hostage in Iran and fluent Farsi speaker -- took up his new position as Deputy Secretary of State for Iran this week. I believe that this is a new position, since as far as I know there has never been a DAS with exclusive responsibility for Iran.

This story is initially and exclusively reported by Laura Rozen in Politico:


If you would like to see John in action on his last day as a "civilian," you can watch Christiane Amanpour's show this Sunday on CNN. I am told that excerpts of the original show (aired on November 4) will appear at 2 pm EDT, but you should probably check listings. Her daily show appears only on CNN International, but it is reprised, with highlight clips, each Sunday on CNN (USA). You can also see the standup cross-talk after the show between John, Christiane and Gary Sick at their website:


Congratulations to John, and congratulations to the Department of State for their good judgment in bringing back one of the most talented and knowledgeable of all the Iran specialists in the United States.


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Don't Know

by darius on

As long as the United State policy is unclear ,nothing in Middle East happens.Speaking Farsi  and serving in Iran alone is not a qualifying factor.Ultimately he has to follow the United State Policy in Middle East and no one really knows if United State cares about democracy or his national interest.I doubt democracy is the motive,Egypt,Saudi Arabia,Jordan and even Israel does not qualify   for known democracy to a civil society and there are other countries that US is helping to reduce the influence of people who are asking for more freedom and less injecting US national interest in their country guide lines.The question is, are we spreading democracy or simply asking the famous saying"Either be with us or else.."

UnitedStates has not yet decided or determined, if Iran has any value to its future with respect to rising China, India and Russia and E.U.United States presence in Iraq will not end in 2011 and it will be used as a staging point for future military action or gathering information.

We as Iranian know that Islamic regime is in  a rotting stage with or without America change in Iran in inevitable and the trend of demonstration  shows( it may come and go) the fact  that IRI

either has to accept extending the freedom and staying out of people daily life or accept the wrath of the public. In either case, if Iranian are not careful will be the losers .If United States had recognized the importance of  presence in Iran's Politic is a important factor , United States Embassy was open and  functioning long time ago in Iran.All I can say, United States in iran subject is not the only decision maker ,the middle east future is decided some where else and therefore speaking Farsi, serving in Iran and even appointing an Iranian born embassador does nothing .

Darius Kadivar

His Experience in IRan was made into a Movie in 1991

by Darius Kadivar on

Jahanshah Javid

Welcome John

by Jahanshah Javid on

For years and years the State Department has had no one in a senior position with the ability to speak Persian. If Iran is on top of your foreign policy concerns, you would think you would seek advice from someone who understands SOMETHING about Iran. So the news about Limbert's appointment should be seen as common sense (which you don't often see). But Persian is not Limbert's only strength. His time in Iran before and during the 1979-80 hostage crisis makes him one of only a handful of American foreign policy experts with firsthand experience with the Islamic Republic. Let's hope he uses his knowledge wisely -- for peaceful purposes.