Iran celebrates 1979 U.S. embassy takeover amid anti-government protests

DUBAI, Nov 4 (Reuters) – Iran held government-sponsored rallies on Friday to mark the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, as the religious organization that has ruled the Islamic Republic since then faced international protests calling for its fall.

Strong students stormed the embassy shortly after the fall of the US-backed Shah, and 52 Americans were held hostage there for 444 days. The two countries have been enemies ever since.

Images broadcast on state television showed anti-American protests by thousands of people across the country on “National Day Against Pride”. The song called for “Death to America” ​​and described Iran’s arch-enemy as a manifestation of Satan.

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Students carried placards in support of the attack on the embassy and raised Iranian flags.

On Friday, the pro-establishment protests provided a stark contrast to the demonstrations that have rocked the Islamic Republic since a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, died in the hands of morality police on September 16 after being arrested for dressing inappropriately.

The protests are a major blow to the leadership established by the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with many young Iranians overcoming fears that have stifled dissent ever since.

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Women, who have been burning their veils, and university students are taking part in the protests, which demand the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but all groups of people are taking part.

The HRANA news agency said on Friday that 300 protesters have been killed in the riots since Thursday, including 47 children, as well as 37 members of the security forces.

More than 14,000 people have been arrested, including 385 students, during demonstrations in 134 cities and towns, and 132 universities, it said.

Iran has accused the United States and other foreign enemies of being responsible for the unrest, saying they want to destabilize the country.

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US President Joe Biden on Thursday vowed to “liberate” Iran, and said that protests against the country’s government would succeed in liberating it.

“Don’t worry, we’re freeing Iran. They’re going to free themselves soon,” Biden said during a campaign speech in California, as dozens of protesters gathered outside holding signs in support of Iran’s opposition.

Biden did not add to his statement.

By Michael Georgy; edited by John Stonestreet

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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