Thousands Rally in Tehran Against US on Anniversary of Hostage Taking
Chanting "Death to America," thousands of Iranians took to the streets outside the former US embassy here Friday to mark the anniversary of its 1979 seizure in the wake of the Islamic revolution.
Some 3,000 protesters marched outside the compound, burning Uncle Sam in effigy and also crying "Death to Israel" as the nation marked its annual national holiday known as the Day of Struggle Against Global Arrogance.
"We're not here just because it's America," 24-year-old political science student Taher Naqavi told AFP. "We would be protesting against any nation that's done the kinds of things the United States has to Iran."
Demonstrators issued a resolution condemning the United States as well as arch-enemy Israel over the bloodshed in the Middle East that has left more than 170 people dead, most of them Palestinian, since late September.
They also chanted slogans calling for "unity" in defense of the Palestinians.
The famed "nest of spies," captured in November 1979 by radicals who held the staff hostage for 444 days, was draped with banners featuring the words of the nation's founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"We will fight against America until our very last breath," one banner sign read, amid a series of murals featuring the Statue of Liberty with a skull and the US flag painted in the shape of a revolver.
Earlier this year the United States publicly apologized for its role in the 1953 coup which toppled nationalist prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh and allowed the imperial regime to return to power.
Washington also lifted sanctions on some non-oil Iranian exports in a bid to improve relations with the Islamic republic.
But anti-US sentiment has been on the rise here over Washington's strong support for Israel amid the latest Middle East bloodshed.
The holiday also marks the anniversary of Khomeini's exile by the shah, who was deposed by the Islamic revolution, as well as the murder of several dozen students by the shah's police forces.
The former US embassy is now a training center for the elite Revolutionary Guards -- TEHRAN (AFP)
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