Iranians Relive Embassy Take-over, Chant Down with USA

TEHRAN- Chanting “Death to America” and burning the US flag, Iranian protesters Wednesday marked the anniversary of the US embassy seizure with a show of anti-Washington fervour despite the nuclear deal.

The protest by tens of thousands of Iranians follows the landmark nuclear deal sealed on July 14 by Tehran and world powers led by the United States.

The 1979 storming of the embassy in Tehran by students, months after the Islamic revolution, led to a 444-day hostage crisis and a break in diplomatic relations that continues to this day.

Iranian students had stormed the embassy, they called ‘Den of Spies’ as they feared US was planning a counter revolution to bring back their ally Shah Reza Pahalavi.

Demonstrators gathered outside the former embassy and across Iran for what was declared the “National Day of the Fight Against Global Arrogance” — a term often used by supreme leader Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei.

Ayatollah Khamenei told Iranian students a day earlier that exclamations of “Death to America” should be seen to refer only to a dislike of the country’s policies.

“Your ‘Death to America’ slogan and the cries by the Iranian nation have strong logical support,” he told a student gathering in Tehran late on Tuesday. “Obviously by ‘Death to America’, we don’t mean death to the American people. The American people are like all other people. The slogan means death to US policies and arrogance.”

Protesters on Wednesday swarmed Tehran streets with placards reading “Down with USA” and “Death to Israel”. They pumped their fists in the air, shouting “God damn America,” and “No compromise, no surrender to U.S.” 

Prosecutor General Ebrahim Raisi gave a fiery speech attacking US “atrocities” ranging from slavery and the treatment of Native Americans to phone tapping and “the killing of 300,000 Iraqis”.

“A day will come when they will have to answer in court for their atrocities,” he said.

On Monday, a majority of Iranian legislators said the Islamic republic would not drop the “Death to America” slogan despite the nuclear accord.

“The martyr-nurturing nation of Iran is not at all prepared to abandon the slogan of ‘Death to America’ under the pretext of a nuclear agreement,” they said.

The legislators said the slogan, chanted at weekly Friday prayers in mosques and at protests, had “turned into the symbol of the Islamic republic and all struggling nations”.

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