Protesters swarm former US Embassy in Tehran

TEHRAN – Tens of thousands of demonstrators packed the streets Monday outside the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran chanting “Down With USA” as country prepares for historic negotiations with Washington following toppling of the US backed monarchy three decades ago.

Such protests occur every year outside the former embassy compound, known in Iran as “Den of Spies”, to mark the anniversary of the 1979 takeover by students following the Islamic Revolution. But the latest demonstration is the largest in years after calls by groups such as the powerful Revolutionary Guard for a major showing.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who cautiously has backed President Rouhani’s efforts to end the impasse with the West over Tehran’s nuclear program said on Sunday “Diplomats are on a difficult mission and nobody should weaken those who are on assignment.” 

Syed Khamenei, addressing a large number of Iranian university students in Tehran, praised students who stormed the U.S. Embassy in 1979.

“Thirty years ago, our young people called the U.S. Embassy a `den of spies.’ … It means our young people were 30 years ahead of their time,” he said, a reference to a series of reports of U.S. eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ayatollah Khamenei also criticized the United States for imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and advised the negotiating team to never trust the enemy. “I once again repeat my previous statement. We should not trust an enemy that smiles.”  

“On the one hand, they (the Americans) smile and say they are eager to negotiate, but on the other hand they say all options are on the table,” the Leader stated. 

“The nuclear issue is only a pretext. And if… the issue is resolved through our retreat, they will find dozens of other pretexts, such as our missile achievements, the opposition of the Iranian nation to the Zionist regime, and the Islamic Republic’s support for the resistance, to continue their hostility toward Iran.” 

Iran will resume negotiations with the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) in Geneva on Thursday.

The Supreme Leader of Iran also reacted to the idea recently floated by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, that the US should explode a nuclear weapon in the Iranian desert as a warning to Iran. Ayatollah Khameini said Adelson “should receive a slap in the mouth.”

“If Americans are telling the truth that they are serious about negotiation, they should slap these prating people in the mouth and crush their mouths,” Ayatollah Khamenei said

“A government (the US) which is under the illusion that it is responsible for world and nuclear issues doesn’t have a damn [sic] right to pose nuclear threat to another country,” he said, according to Fars’s English language website.

“Today, Americans care the most for the decadent Zionist regime and circles because the (US) administration and Congress are dominated by powerful capitalists and Zionist companies…but we are not forced to treat them with care,” Khamenei said.

“We have said since the very first day (of the Islamic Revolution), and we do say it now and we will say it in future as well that that we believe the Zionist regime is an illegitimate and bastard regime,” he added.

Ayatollah’s angry remarks came after Adelson told a crowd at Yeshiva University in New York late in October that the only proper negotiating tactic with Iran would be fire a nuclear missile at a desert location in the country and then threaten to aim the next missile at Tehran.

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