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Iran: Rallies mark 1979 US Embassy seizure, support for Gaza

Iranians marched outside the former US Embassy on November 4, 2023

Iranians marched outside the former US Embassy on November 4, 2023

Thousands of people protested outside the former US Embassy in Tehran, on the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the building, state media reported.

Iranian state news agency IRNA reported demonstrations in more than 1,000 cities nationwide.

Protesters chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" while condemning Washington's support of Israel as it strikes the Gaza Strip.

Israel declared war on Hamas militants who rule the enclave after militants launched a terror attack on Israeli soil on October 7 that killed 1,400 people and took some 240 more hostage.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the EU, Germany, the US, Israel and others.

Protesters stomped on images of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden.

The parliamentary speaker, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, addressed the crowds while criticizing US support of Israel.

On Wednesday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the US for its support of Israel, saying Israel would have been paralyzed without American support.

Annual demonstrations at US Embassy site

In 1979, Iranian student revolutionaries climbed over the walls of the US Embassy in Tehran and held 52 people hostage for 444 days.

The act broke diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran for over three decades.

Anger at the US had been growing in Iran for a number of reasons, but it boiled over in October when the US took in the deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi for treatment.

Many of those sentiments remain today amid the heightened tension between Tehran and Washington.

1979 crisis to present day

Iran's nuclear program has expanded significantly following the 2018 decision by former US President Donald Trump to pull the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Subsequent US sanctions then sent the Iranian economy into free fall. In 2022, Iran saw some of the largest anti-government protests in years, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini.

Those protests were met by a brutal crackdown by Iran's security forces as people got angry at the government of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi.

While talks on the nuclear deal remain stalled, the longtime adversaries showed partial signs of thawing in relations earlier this year.

The two dealt a high-stakes prisoner swap, and the US unblocked the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds held in South Korea.

rm/sms (DPA, Reuters)