Mon, Nov 05, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Iranians celebrate anniversary of US embassy takeover

AFP , TEHRAN

Thousands of young Iranians proclaimed "Death to America" yesterday as they celebrated the 28th anniversary of the storming of the US embassy in Tehran by students.

A massive crowd, composed mainly of schoolchildren bussed in to central Tehran, gathered outside the site of the former US embassy, known locally as the "Den of Spies."

"Death to America! Death to Israel!" the young people shouted, wearing bibs that depicted the burning of the US and Israeli flags.

Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi, in a keynote address, hailed the embassy seizure as "a great and glorious event" from which Iranians were still drawing inspiration.

But he also cautioned Iranians to cut down on consumption to deflect what he called the latest plot by the US -- namely sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program.

"We have to devise very clear plans so the pace of our progress is not stopped," he said.

"All of us in our households can bring down our consumption expenditure by 10 percent. Our culture of consumption needs to be changed. We need to send a call to the young people," he said.

Pour Mohammadi described warnings of US military action against Iran as a "joke," but also called on Iranians to show "national solidarity" in order to defeat the plots.

The interior minister gave the address after unexpectedly replacing former top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani who had been announced as the main speaker by official notices last week.

The young people gathered for the protest denounced the US and said relations could only be possible if they were on an equal basis.

"By being here I am doing my religious duty and by being here I am saying I hate the bullying powers, especially the United States and Israel," seminary student Esmaeel Mohammadi said.

Reihaneh Deqipour, 16, said: "My coming here is a sign I am ready to defend my country and slap the United States in the face and I'm ready to defend the country to the last drop of my blood.

"Relations with the United States are fine as long as we are equals," she said.

A major shadow is still cast by the seizure of the embassy on Nov. 4, 1979, in the wake of the Islamic revolution that toppled pro-US shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Also see Bank sanctions nibbling away at Iran's resolve

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