Share This Page

Thousands of Iranians rally against U.S.

| Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, 10:00 p.m.

TEHRAN — Tens of thousands of protesters chanting “Death to America!” marched on Monday outside the former U.S. Embassy in Iran's capital in a rally highlighting hard-liners' wariness about possible rapprochement with the Islamic Republic's archenemy.

The turnout was the largest in years at an annual event marking the anniversary of the Nov. 4, 1979, takeover of the embassy and the seizure of American hostages. Iran's official media said millions participated in similar gatherings across the country.

The marchers set ablaze U.S. flags and effigies of President Obama, who was depicted in posters as a sinner in hell. A flatbed truck carried a giant pair of boots symbolically stomping on a U.S. flag.

Recent revelations that the National Security Agency had eavesdropped on the private calls of world leaders provided fodder for marchers outside the former embassy, dubbed a “nest of spies” when seized more than three decades ago.

“We knew 34 years ago that the U.S. Embassy was a ‘den of espionage,' ” said Hossian, 56, who declined to give his last name. “Now all Europe has realized that we were right. U.S. embassies across the world are dens of espionage.”

The timing of the heavily choreographed demonstrations was widely viewed as a pointed message to President Hasan Rouhani as he pursues a controversial diplomatic outreach to Washington.

In September, Rouhani and Obama spoke via telephone on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, marking the highest-level contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

A campaign among supporters of the president to tone down the “Death to America!” invective has elicited a backlash among conservatives who are opposed to reconciliation with the “Great Satan,” as the United States was labeled by late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomenei, leader of the Iranian revolution.

Many marchers noted that Rouhani, before his landslide election in June against a field of hard-line candidates, had praised the “Death to America!” and “Death to USA!” chants that have long been a mainstay of revolutionary rhetoric and Friday prayer oratory.

The dispute about anti-America slogans has highlighted the deep divisions in Iranian society about a possible reconciliation with the West.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.