Thousands of people gathered in Tehran, including former hostages, to mark 32 years since the occupation of the US embassy
Iranians mark anniversary of 1979 US embassy takeover by chanting ‘Death to America’
Thousands of Iranians have gathered in central Tehran in commemoration of the anniversary of the US embassy takeover, chanting “Death to America.”
Iran’s reformist and reformist-linked media outlets, including the reformist daily Shargh, said on Saturday they would refrain from publishing comments on the anniversary and coverage of it should be muted by 13:50 GMT, in line with a strict state ban on external content.
The former hostages have voiced support for Iran’s ongoing confrontation with the US.
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“We are here to show loyalty to the Iranian nation and to confront America and Zionism,” said Ahmad Khatami, a former hostage at the US embassy during the 1979-1981 hostage crisis.
“I support the establishment and the officials. We are here to support the current president, because the revolution relies on continuation of the current leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei].”
Iranian protesters in Amman hold up placards demanding freedom for the Americans currently being held in Iran, and with words that read ‘Death to America.’ Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
Iranian protesters have repeatedly shown support for the US in recent months, including at rallies in several countries, voicing their determination to keep up the struggle against a country which they see as the main obstacle to the Islamic republic’s path.
The crowd on Saturday also made an oath to restore Iran’s “lost pride, dignity and honour”.
The US ambassador to Lebanon, David Hale, said on Twitter it would be “welcome news if officials in Iran choose to celebrate the anniversary of that hostage-taking instead of glorifying it with chants of ‘Death to America’.”
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, condemned the hostage-taking during the sanctions era, saying that “instead of celebrating this war crime, we should be doing all we can to end it and we’ll get there.”
Washington and Tehran have sought to improve relations since Hassan Rouhani was elected president in 2013 and later reached a landmark nuclear deal with world powers.
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Rouhani, in a speech on Friday night, called for Iran’s enemies to end their “enmity” against the Islamic republic, although analysts have warned that US hostility to Iran could still drag the two countries back into a war.
The US embassy in Tehran was stormed by students on 15 November 1979. About 52 Americans were held for 444 days before the military takeover.
The students held the US charge d’affaires, John Deutsch, and two other American diplomats hostage until February 1981.
On 15 November 2015, Rouhani and US president Barack Obama pledged to complete a nuclear deal that would end Iran’s isolation and enable it to reintegrate into the global economy. But the accord suffered a setback this week when Congress decided to consider new legislation that could torpedo the deal.