Crowds in Tehran chanted “Down with US” and “Death to Israel” Saturday as Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 US Embassy takeover and hostage crisis.
Thousands gathered at the former US embassy in downtown Tehran amid uncertainty about Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Some demonstrators marched with a mock scaffold on which were hanging effigies of US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi King Salman and Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Iran also displayed a surface-to-surface missile as part of events. The weapon was believed to be a 2,000-kilometer range Sejjil. It was the first time Iran displayed a missile during the annual gathering.
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Later in the day, the semi-official Tasnim news agency, which has ties to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said the missile was a Qadr-F that has the same range.
State TV said similar celebrations were being held in other Iranian cities and towns. They also burned flags of both the US and Israel as well as an effigy of Trump.
Hundreds of Iranian militant students stormed the US Embassy following the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. They took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after Washington refused to hand over the shah, who was in the US.
Tensions have risen between Washington and Tehran recently after Trump refused to re-certify the 2015 landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in October, and the US has imposed more sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program.
The US Congress must now make a decision regarding the 2015 nuclear deal, in which Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the country’s Supreme National Security Council, addressed the crowd, saying Iran will make any sanctions imposed by the US “ineffective” even as the US targets Iran’s economic, nuclear and defensive power.
Shamkhani, alluding to Trump’s threats against North Korea, said even US allies know that Trump “has no power to realize his bluffs, against Iran, too.” He called the US the “eternal enemy” of Iran.
The former embassy in Tehran is now a cultural center while standing as a symbol of a US defeat for many Iranians. Many Iranians call it the “den of spies.”
The US cut its diplomatic relations with Iran following the embassy takeover and has had no diplomatic relations since.