News & Politics

CNN Gives Friendly Interview to Iranian Woman Who Said She Would Kill U.S. Hostages in 1979

CNN video screenshot of Masoumeh Ebtekar.

On Tuesday night, CNN aired an interview between its international anchor Christiane Amanpour and Masoumeh Ebtekar, currently Iran’s vice president for women and family affairs. Amanpour did not once mention Ebtekar’s connection to the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, however. Ebtekar was one of the pro-Islamic Revolution students who seized the U.S. Embassy. She herself said she would personally shoot U.S. hostages in the head if American troops came to liberate the hostages.

In a brief segment cut from a 15-minute interview, Amanpour asked the Iranian leader whether the strike that killed Quds Force leader Qasem Soleimani had brought Iranians together.

“I’m saying that the American government — the American president — made a serious miscalculation. They made a serious mistake by assassinating, by taking this terrorist action against Commander Soleimani,” Ebtekar said.

She suggested there is a “wave of awakening in many countries,” an awakening against “the terrible actions of the American government” which has “brought the Iranian people together.” She further argued that Iran has been “righteous.” Laughably, Ebtekar suggested that Trump ordered the strike against Soleimani not because of an upcoming attack Soleimani planned against U.S. troops or because of the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, but because the Quds Force leader had fought against the Islamic State (which she referred to as DAESH, the abbreviation of its Arabic name).

“That’s the main reason he was targeted, because he stood up against terrorism, he was a symbol of the demise of DAESH,” she said.

Amanpour did not step in to counter these ridiculous claims. Indeed, she later defended Ebtekar as a “reformist” in part of the interview CNN seems to have omitted from the show that evening.

Amanpour gave the woman the benefit of the doubt, beginning a question with the statement that Ebtekar had become a “reformist” — as demonstrated (Amanpour laughably claimed) by her support for the Iran nuclear deal.

“You were and are a very committed revolutionary. You were very prominent during the early days of the Islamic Revolution but you became more of a reformist as well, and you supported the negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal,” Amanpour said.

Ebtekar responded by attacking Trump for pulling out of the Iran deal — which did not prevent Iran’s nuclear program and involved sending pallets of cash to the terrorist state.

She argued that Trump’s actions “actually gave the message that the American government is not looking for peace or security.” The Iran leader went on to condemn sanctions as “illegal” and “economic terrorism against our nation.”

“The time for negotiation has passed, unfortunately,” Ebtekar added.

Such rhetoric should not be surprising, coming from a voice of the Islamic Republic — and from a woman who said she would kill U.S. hostages during the crisis in 1979.

“You said at the press conference the other day, you said yourself, that if there was an attack on this embassy, that you would destroy the hostages. Could you really do that?” a journalist asked Ebtekar in 1979.

Unflinching, the woman said, “Yes, we mean it.”

“Could you personally lift up a gun and put it to the head of one of these people and kill him?” the journalist pressed.

“Yes, yes,” Ebtekar repeated.

Does Christiane Amanpour really think this kind of history should be skated over? Does support for the Iran deal suddenly erase this threat? Does Iran’s hatred for Trump, a hatred many at CNN appear to share, justify ignoring this woman’s history? Is that what CNN has become?

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.