Iranians protest outside former US embassy in Tehran

Iranians celebrate first 1979 hostage-taking since Islamic Republic reached agreement with six-world powers arguing historic nuclear deal would not lead to any rapprochement between Tehran and Washington

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Women hold anti-US banners during a demonstration outside the former US embassy in Tehran, Iran

Thousands of Iranians gathered at a rally to celebrate the 1979 hostage-taking in front of the US Embassy on Wednesday, in Tehran.

The US Embassy was closed down by students in the start of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The hostage-taking crisis lasted in 444 days and since then Washington and Tehran have yet to restore diplomatic ties.                                                                                      

Protesters gathered in front of the abandoned US Embassy in Tehran chanting "death to America" and urging Iran's Foreign Minister and Chief Nuclear Negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, "Don't trust the Americans."

Some of the protesters dragged a mock coffin of  “Obama” through the street of Tehran, while others carrying long balloons representing Iran's latest ballistic missile, tested last month in defiance of a United Nations embargo.

Hamid Rasaei, a hardline Iranian MP, was quoted in the Fars newspaper saying "we managed to capture the US Embassy in the early years of the Revolution but there are still espionage dens in our newspapers."

Iranian President Rouhani is keen to normalise relations with the West after the deal, but the supporters Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei used this year's rallies across the country to argue the historic agreement would not lead to any rapprochement between Tehran and Washington.

"Western countries, especially the United States, are trying to take advantage of the situation in Iran after the nuclear deal to normalise relations with Tehran and infiltrate the country," Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) said in a statement published on the Fars news agency on Tuesday.

Journalist arrested in Iran

Two days ago, tension between Rouhani and hardliners appeared to spread over the arrest of at least two journalists, Isa Saharkhiz and Ehsan Mazandarani.

On Wednesday, two other journalists Afarin Chitsaz and Saman Safarzaie, had been arrested according to Advocacy group Reporters without Borders

Also according to another advocacy group, the Committee to Protect Journalists, said at least five reporters had been arrested in recent days.

A member of the Revolutionary Guards' Intelligence Organisation said on Tuesday that the arrest of an unknown number of journalists and online activists was of a security operation to destroy "an infiltration network related to Western countries."

"They were trying to save the US image and make society ready for the official presence of the Americans in Iran," the man, identified only as Asef, told state TV by phone, saying this process was "designed and funded by American spy agencies."

TRTWorld and agencies