'Death to America', 'Down to Israel' chants as Iran celebrates US embassy siege anniversary

Several thousand Iranians protest at compound of embassy that was under siege in 1979.

By REUTERS
November 4, 2013 20:44
2 minute read.
Iranian students stand in front of former US embassy in Tehran, November 4, 2011.

Anti-US poster on American embassy in Tehran 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Thousands of Iranians chanted “Death to America” on Monday, the anniversary of of the 1979 seizure of the US Embassy.

Many saw the calls as a jab at President Hassan Rouhani as he tries to ease tension with Washington and resolve the nuclear dispute.

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Footage broadcast live on state television showed what appeared to be a crowd of several thousand and the walls of the embassy compound, not used since the seizure, plastered with large posters intent on showing supposed deceptions of the United States.

“Students are alert and hate America,” “Our blood in our veins, a gift for our leader” and “Down with Israel,” the crowd’s chants included, Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported.

The 1979 siege began when, 10 months after the fall of the US-allied Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, radical students stormed the embassy, taking hostage 52 staff for an eventual 444 days. The US and Iran have not resumed diplomatic relations since then.

“Thirty-four years ago, our nation showed the realities to the world, that American embassies are a place of espionage and hatching plots,” hardline war veteran and former chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili said in an address to the crowd.

“The capture of the nest of spies showed that the revolution was on the right path,” he said, in remarks carried by the official news agency IRNA.

Rouhani, speaking to lawmakers in Iran on Monday, said the removal of sanctions, motivated by the nuclear dispute, may not be a quick process.

“The administration is hopeful about resolving problems and we must always remember that no one should expect all problems will be resolved in a short period of time,” he said, according to the Iranian Press TV website.

On Twitter, Rouhani continued his charm offensive, stating that the “Iranian nation has never hated any nationincl. #American people. What has been & still is of concern are hostile policies, which we condemn.”

Deputy Parliament Speaker Mohammad Hassan Abu-Torabi Fard told a rally in the city of Qom marking the embassy siege that the parliament supports the negotiators, according to the Fars News Agency.

“The US and the Western world, with all their power, have tried and are trying to prevent the Islamic Republic from gaining access to the nuclear know-how, but today the young Iranian scientists have succeeded on their own in enriching uranium to the purity level of 20 percent and the West has proposed negotiations which shows their acceptance of Iran’s nuclear power,” he said.


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