Iran’s parliament erupts in ‘Death to America’ chants

Vice speaker lauds 1979 attack on US embassy in Tehran as ‘resistance of righteousness against falsehood’

The Iranian Parliament (CC-BY Parmida76/Flickr)
The Iranian Parliament (CC-BY Parmida76/Flickr)

The Iranian parliament on Sunday rang out with chants of “Death to America” after the vice speaker delivered an impassioned speech defending the country’s continued use of the expression ahead of the 34th anniversary of the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran.

Vice Parliamentary Speaker Mohammad Hossein Aboutorabifard commended the November 4, 1979, attack on the US embassy as a symbol of “resistance of righteousness against falsehood,” Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported. At the conclusion of Aboutorabifard’s speech to the parliament, MPs joined in a collective chant of “Death to America.”

Not satisfied with one legislative chorus of “Death to America” chants, approximately 200 MPs — over two-thirds of the assembly — said they would voice their strong opposition to Washington by participating in a collective “Death to the US” shouting match on Monday, the anniversary of the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran.

The Iranian Defense Ministry also vowed that there would be massive rallies nationwide to mark the November 4 attack, emphasizing the Iranian people’s commitment to the motto “Death to America.”

“The Iranian nation will show on November 4 that it has never forgotten the ‘Death to the US’ slogan as the symbol of its resistance and uncompromising” nature, the Defense Ministry said in a statement quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency.

A member of the Assembly of Experts, the religious council responsible for electing and removing Iran’s supreme leader, also voiced his staunch opposition to the United States Saturday, saying that “the Iranian people are determined to continue their struggle with the global arrogance [the United States] until the US administration is forced to change its behavior,” the semi-official Islamic Republic news agency reported.

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Asghar Dastghaib said that so long as the US “continues its antagonistic policies toward the Iranian nation, the Iranian people will follow up the recommendation of their supreme leader while chanting ‘Death to America.'”

The incident at parliament occurred a day after Iranian hardliners unveiled two new “Death to America” songs at the former US embassy in Tehran, hoping to keep anger high ahead of nuclear talks with Western powers.

They performed the songs Saturday ahead of the planned massive protest Monday to mark the anniversary of the US Embassy takeover in 1979.

The anniversary this year is drawing greater attention due to hardline opposition to moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s outreach to the West as talks over the country’s contested nuclear program continue. Conservatives also criticized Rouhani’s historic telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama in September, a gesture aimed at ending three decades of estrangement between the two countries.

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