Iranian men play backgammon while smoking water pipes at Pardisan Park, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 2, 2014.(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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Three decades after hard-line students occupied the U.S. Embassy and took diplomats hostage for 444 days, many of the now middle-aged revolutionaries are among the most vocal critics of Iran's conservative establishment, officials and analysts said.The U.S. State Department, which has yet to approve a visa for Hamid Abutalebi, said it had raised "serious concerns" with Iran about his nomination for the post. But Iran hopes the case can be resolved, while Abutalebi has played down his role in the hostage crisis, suggesting he was just a translator. As students, almost all of the hostage-takers were active in the revolution that overthrew Iran's U.S.-backed shah. But years later, the ranks of the hostage takers also gave birth to a movement for reform of Iran's Islamic system, analysts said. Ebtekar, who was Iran's vice-president under Khatami, a post she resumed under Rouhani, was the public face of the siege, serving as a spokeswoman for the hostage-takers.
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