World

Scenes Of Angry Anti-U.S. Protests In Iran On Anniversary Of Embassy Siege

As American-Iranian relations are starting to thaw, Iranians turned out for the biggest anti-U.S. rally in decades to celebrate the 1979 storming of the U.S. embassy.

1. Tens of thousands of Iranians rallied outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran today to mark the 34th anniversary of the U.S. embassy siege in 1979.

2. Protesters packed the street, chanting “death to America” and “death to Israel,” burning U.S. and Israeli flags, and carrying effigies of Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

4. It was the largest anti-U.S. rally in years.

5. The rally commemorated the storming of the U.S. embassy by Iranians, which led to 52 Americans being held hostage for 444 days, and ignited decades of hostility between Washington and Tehran.

Just like during the Iranian revolution, scaffolding was used to keep enthusiastic protesters in place.

— ThomasErdbrink (@Thomas Erdbrink)

7. Protestors started to rally at 8:45 in the morning at Amir Kabir University, and then marched to the former U.S. embassy, where Iranian politicians spoke.

Anti #US march in Tehran right now:ppl moving toward ex-US embassy in annivrsry of 'Conquest of the American Spy Den'

— MohammadZaam (@Mojtaba)

8. Hardline Iranian politician Saeed Jalili gave the day’s final speech, shouting “death to America.”

Have you noticed? Flag version of anti-US slogan #DeathtoAmerica produced this year! #IRAN @mahdiyarbasiji #ایران

— MehrzadBBC (@Mehrzad Kohanrouz)

#Iranian artists hold posters with #Persian that reads " #America cannot do a damn thing" ! #Tehran #Iran #USA #Obama

— tameryazar (@Tamer Yazar)

10. Reports attributed the high turnout to anger among Iranian hardliners at President Hassan Rouhani for his engagement with the U.S. and the president’s negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

US EMBASSY SIEGE ANNI - @AP: biggest rally in years in #IRAN capital as a show of support for hardline opponents of Rouhani's outreach to US

— MehrzadBBC (@Mehrzad Kohanrouz)

11. While anti-American sentiments were high at the protests, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a tweet that the target was U.S. policy, and not the American people.

Iranian nation has never hated any nation--incl. #American people. What has been & still is of concern are hostile policies,which we condemn

— HassanRouhani (@Hassan Rouhani)

RT @FarshadMKashani: interesting messg: Pres Rouhani thanks Supreme Leader for his speech tdy & added Iranian people do not hate Americans

— lrozen (@Laura Rozen)

#Iran's Khamenei: I am still here, nuclear negotiators are not traitors; they are carrying out my orders, but there will be no backtracking.

— BBCKasraNaji (@Kasra Naji)

14. A majority of Iranians (56%) approve of their government developing nuclear capabilities for non-military use, while a third (34%) approve it for military use, according to a June 2013 Gallup poll.

Gallup / Via gallup.com

There many centrists/reformists/liberals who are v uncomfortable w "Death to America" but squarely reject US postures to the Middle East

— golnarM (@Golnar M)

16. Still, American journalists on the ground described a highly charged situation.

Schoolgirls spent days fabricating creative expressions of hatred but said "hello" to me and "where are you from?"

— ThomasErdbrink (@Thomas Erdbrink)

17. The few granted access to Iran were given press cards with “Down with U.S.A.” written in English, like this one shared on Twitter by an NBC correspondent.

We have been given our press cards which have down with USA printed on them

— aliarouzi (@ali arouzi)

18. Along with America and Israel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also the target of xenophobic slogans.

merkel shd get this framed RT @modavari: #Iran Nov 4 rally gives shoutout to Merkel as victim of "Satan's betrayal"

— lrozen (@Laura Rozen)

19. In honor of the occasion, the former U.S. Embassy, nicknamed “the den of spies” by Iranians, has been turned into a museum of U.S. operations, pictured here by an ABC correspondent.

Here we go: Full panorama of mural inside former embassy. More pics on our live digital coverage #InsideIran

— MuhammadLila (@Muhammad Lila)

#Creepy replica of last US Amb to Iran, William Sullivan. Passed away few weeks ago #RIP http://t.co/cL3TxZgpnQ

— MuhammadLila (@Muhammad Lila)

Famous "glass room" was allegedly espionage-proof, incl. wax replica of last US Ambassador (at the back)

— MuhammadLila (@Muhammad Lila)

22. As international attention turned to the rally, Iran reportedly executed a Kurdish political activist today. The event seemed to pass in silence in the streets, but garnered online outrage.

Another high profile execution in Iran today and some strong reactions against it from Iranians on social media.

— thekarami (@Arash Karami)

23. With the rally’s conclusion, commentators are waiting to see how the next round of Iranian-American engagement will fare.

After hardliner Jalili said his last 'death to America' in Tehran everybody went home,but the posters stayed behind

— ThomasErdbrink (@Thomas Erdbrink)

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BuzzFeed World Reporter
Contact this reporter at miriam.berger+done@buzzfeed.com