Friday, 24 November, 2017

Iran adds missile to annual anti-US pageant

Iran displays missile on anniversary of US embassy takeover Iran: Thousands march on 1979 anniversary, chant anti-Israel, anti-US slogans
Lillian Steele | 06 November, 2017, 02:06

On November 4, 1979, and in less than a year after the victory of the Islamic Revolution that toppled a US-backed monarchy, Iranian university students who called themselves "students following the line of (the late) Imam (Khomeini)" seized the USA embassy in Tehran, which had become a center of espionage and planning to overthrow the newly established Islamic system in Iran.

Thousands gathered at the former United States embassy in downtown Tehran where a missile, believed to be a 2,000-kilometre-range solid-fuel Sejjil, was on display.

The diplomatic building was stormed by militant students following the 1979 revolution which toppled the US-backed Shah.

A crowd chanted "Down with the U.S." and "Death to Israel" during the anniversary celebration. Senior Iranian officials continue to claim that the Islamic Republic's missile program is exclusively defensive in nature, and state that it is not negotiable.

This year, amid strained relations between Tehran and Washington over the nuclear deal and belligerent rhetoric from US President Donald Trump, the traditional display of military strength has taken on added significance. State television said similar celebrations were being held in other Iranian cities and towns.

Mr Trump refused to recertify the 2015 landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in October and the U.S. has imposed more sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened to "shred" the pact if the United States pulls out.

The anniversary has become a day of Iranian nationalism.

Shamkhani, alluding to Trump's threats against North Korea, said even USA allies know that Trump "has no power to realize his bluffs, against Iran, too".

The former USA embassy in Tehran is now a cultural centre but stands as a symbol of a United States defeat for many Iranians.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranian people, mostly school and university students, staged demonstrations on Saturday morning all over the country to express their opposition to the arrogant policies and attitudes of the enemies, particularly the US. "The enmity with America will continue and our resistance will as well".

Information for this article was contributed by Ramin Mostaghim and Shashank Bengali of the Los Angeles Times and by Nasser Karimi of The Associated Press.

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