Iranians hold anti-American protests to mark US embassy siege

Iranians hold anti-American protests to mark US embassy siege
Demonstrations on the streets of Tehran to mark the 36th anniversary of US-embassy siege highlight ambivalence towards Washington in Iran, and entrenched anti-US attitudes in some sections of government.
2 min read
04 November, 2015
Anti-US rallies have been held in Iran to mark 37th anniversary of embassy siege [AFP]

Chanting "Death to America" and burning the US flag, thousands of Iranians joined protests Wednesday marking the 36th anniversary of the seizure of Washington's embassy in Tehran.

The outpouring of anti-US sentiment came despite a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and major powers including Washington in July.

The storming of the embassy 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.

Demonstrators gathered outside the former US embassy in Tehran and across Iran for what was declared "national day of the fight against global arrogance" - a term often used by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Protesters held placards with slogans including "Down with USA" and "Down with Israel".

Prosecutor General Ebrahim Raisi gave a fiery speech attacking US "atrocities" ranging from slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, 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.

Khamenei has endorsed the 14 July deal which curbs Iran's atomic drive in return for a lifting of sanctions, but has repeatedly warned against US "infiltration" of the values of Iranian society.

There has been protests from some Iranians about reports that US fast food chains KFC and Burger King were planning on opening restaurants in Iran.

Meanwhile, despite the presidential post being held by moderate Hassan Rouhani - who was key to brokering the nuclear deal with Washington - more conservative and hardline elements within the government have been attempting to extend their control and snuff out critics.

Two pro-reform journalists were arrested on Tuesday, while a US-Lebanese businessman who disappeared in September was yesterday revealed to be held in Iran on suspcion of being a CIA spy.