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Former Captives Link Iran's President-Elect to 1979 Hostage Crisis

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Several Americans held hostage in Iran more than 25 years ago say they remember Iran's President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as playing a key role in the seizure.

A group of radical Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

In recent interviews with the Washington Times and Associated Press, several former hostages described Mr. Ahmadinejad as "a cruel individual" who interrogated the captives.

One former hostage, Kevin Hermening, -- who was a Marine guard at the embassy -- recalled the man he believed to be Mr. Ahmadinejad asked him for the combination to the embassy's safe.

Mr. Ahmadinejad was in his early 20's at the time of the hostage taking. He denies taking part in storming of the American compound.

Last week, he won Iran's runoff presidential election by a landslide.