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Iran’s president picks reformer as aide

TEHRAN — Iran’s president has named as vice president a hard-liner-turned-reformer who was spokeswoman for hostage-takers at the US Embassy after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, an adviser said.

The selection of Masoomeh Ebtekar as vice president for environmental affairs underscores how many staunch backers of the overthrow of Iran’s Western-backed monarchy more than 30 years ago now side with moderates.

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Their stance includes the belief that the ruling clerics have become too oriented toward battling the West. Such figures as opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi — both under house arrest since early 2011 — were strong supporters of the Islamic Revolution before pushing for reform.

Ebtekar, 52, is fluent in English from her years as a schoolgirl in Philadelphia and Massachusetts from 1963 to 1969, when her father was studying in the United States.

Ebtekar was Iran’s first female vice president under reformist President Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005.

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