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Iran Marks 40th Anniversary of US Embassy Seizure

Iran Marks 40th Anniversary of US Embassy Seizure

Tuesday, 5 November, 2019 - 12:30
A woman walks in front of new murals of the former US embassy in Tehran, Iran November 2, 2019. (Reuters)

Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the mission of the US Embassy in Tehran with dozens of rallies in several cities across the country chanting against the US.

State television showed footage of crowds packed in the streets surrounding the former embassy building, dubbed the “den of spies” after Iran’s 1979 revolution. The building is currently under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

State television broadcast live footage of similar gatherings in several cities, including Mashhad, Qazvin and Tabriz in the north; Ilam, Bushehr, Ahvaz and Shiraz in the south; Isfahan in the center, as well as Zahedan in the southeast.

According to the Mehr news agency, “millions are taking part in these gatherings” across the country.

In Tehran, men, women and children waved placards in English and Farsi, reading: “Down with USA.. Death to Israel..Victory to Islam.” They carried effigies mocking US President Donald Trump.

In 1979, hardline students stormed the embassy soon after the fall of the US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza, and took 52 US citizens hostage. The protesters demanded Washington hand over the Shah for persecution inside Iran in exchange for releasing the hostages. They released them after 444 days when the Shah died in Egypt.

On Sunday, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for trying to promote talks between the United States and Iran.

“The French president, who says a meeting will end all the problems between Tehran and America, is either naive or complicit with the US,” he said in remarks reported by state television.

He warned Iranian officials against holding talks with the US unless it returns to the 2015 nuclear deal and lifts reimposed sanctions. “Those who believe that negotiations with the enemy will solve our problems are 100 percent wrong,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iran’s parliament gave initial approval to a measure requiring schoolbooks to inform students about “America’s crimes”, as lawmakers attending the session chanted “Death to America”.

Relations between the two countries have been deeply strained since President Trump abandoned in 2018 the 2015 pact between Iran and world powers under which it accepted curbs to its nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.

The United States has reimposed sanctions aimed at halting all Iranian oil exports, saying it seeks to force it to negotiate to reach a wider deal that includes Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional activities.

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