Iran marks anniversary of US Embassy takeover with angry words
Anti-US students chanted 'death to America' and predicted the fall of the 'great Satan' to mark the seizure 31 years ago of the US Embassy. Iran and Western powers are slated to resume nuclear talks later this month.
Iran kept up its near-relentless anti-American rhetoric as it marked the anniversary on Thursday of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, just days before it is due to resume nuclear talks with Western powers.Skip to next paragraph
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Anti-US students chanted “death to America” and predicted the fall of the “great Satan,” the nation still officially most vilified by the Islamic Republic, during the annually staged event. Anti-Americanism has remained a pillar of the Islamic revolution since 52 diplomats were held hostage for 444 days.
Iranian officials have largely continued with the anti-US stance, despite several verbal and written overtures from President Obama to break the ice on three decades of mutual hostility.
The sentiment expressed in Iran throughout the anniversary – and uncertainty over the scope, quality, and even location of any upcoming talks – does not suggest a positive outcome. Also in doubt is American willingness to navigate the nuclear issue with Iran's current hard-line government.
“These [US overture] statements may seem soft, but in reality there is a cast iron fist underneath a velvet glove,” Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told students on the eve of the anniversary.
The embassy seizure “is the symbol of bravery and boldness of the young revolutionary generation in the face of the prestige of the United States. The takeover of the den of spies … shook the United States and forced America to its knees,” said Ayatollah Khamenei.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made frequent declarations that the liberal democracy and capitalist economies of the US and other Western powers have “failed." He demands a more equitable new world order framed by Iran and other growing powers.
Both sides have said the “door remains open” to talks on a host of contentious issues, but Tehran has accused Washington of insincerity, while the United States last June orchestrated a fourth round of United Nations sanctions and imposed other measures against Iran over its nuclear program.