Tehran, Iran – Demonstrations have been held across Iran to denounce the United States and Israel and to mark the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran as Israel bombards the Gaza Strip.
Saturday marked the 13th day of the Iranian month of Aban, the day the US embassy was stormed by young revolutionaries shortly after the country’s 1979 revolution, which birthed the current theocratic establishment in Iran.
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The November 4, 1979, takeover, which took place after the fall of Iran’s US-backed monarch, lasted 444 days, and 52 Americans were held captive. The site of the US embassy is now accessible to the public as a representation of what Iranian officials call a “den of spies”.
This day on the Iranian calendar is also known as Students Day and the National Day of Fighting Global Arrogance.
Demonstrators, some of whom were children, started marching in Tehran about 9am (12:30pm GMT) from Palestine Square in the downtown area to the site of the former US embassy a few kilometres away.
State television showed people holding Palestinian flags and others burning Israeli, US and United Kingdom flags. In some places, the US and Israeli flags were put on the ground, so demonstrators could walk over them.
Chants of “death to America” and “death to Israel” rang out throughout the marches. One demonstrator could be seen holding a cardboard cutout of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his knees with his hands behind his head in a sign of surrender.
Revolutionary student groups released statements to condemn the “atrocities” committed by Israel against Palestinian civilians and to cite a promise made by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2015 that Israel would cease to exist by 2040.
State-organised demonstrations were also held in other large cities, including Mashhad, Isfahan, Ardebil and Hamedan, and government ministers and other officials were in attendance. The state-run IRNA news website reported rallies were held in more than 1,200 cities and towns.
Iranian officials have called for an immediate cessation of Israeli bombings and operations in Gaza, which have killed more than 9,488 Palestinians, most of them women and children, since the October 7 Hamas attacks, which killed about 1,400 Israelis.
Tehran has also warned that the war could spread as the “resistance axis” of forces across the region – including in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Syria – could retaliate against Israel’s killing of civilians and promises to destroy Hamas.