Nov. 4 - Thousands of Iranians chanted ''Death to America'' on the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in a jab at moderate President Hassan Rouhani as he tries to ease tension with Washington and resolve the nuclear dispute. Mana Rabiee reports.
In Tehran, the anniversary of the 1979 U.S. embassy takeover always sounds like this… …thousands rallying outside the former U.S. diplomatic compound to chant 'Death to America'. But this year's annual demonstration, on Monday, was also a barometer of opposition to moderate President Hassan Rouhani. He's been trying to ease tensions with Washington…and conservatives are suspicious. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE STUDENT PROTESTER, SAYING: "With this 'down with the USA' we prove that we're standing by the oppressed and we will fight the foreign adversaries." (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE STUDENT PROTESTER, SAYING: "I love my country, I'm Iranian, I won't let any invader set foot in my country, I won't let them in." As if to counter some of the antagonism of Monday's rally, authorities in Tehran started taking down anti-American murals in the capitol last month. A friendly gesture towards Iran's long-term rival. In Parliament, some lawmakers seem ready to take a more conciliatory tone with Washington. But others, like Hassan Naghavi-Hosseni, who chairs the committee for national security and foreign police, are not. (SOUNDBITE) (Farsi) HASAN NAGHAVI-HOSSEINI, IRANIAN MP AND THE SPEAKER OF THE COMMITTEE OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN POLICY, SAYING: "The 'down with the U.S.A.' slogan is one of our basic slogans. As long as the Americans look at our country's national interests with arrogance, domination, sanctions, and threats, we will surely keep this slogan." The 1979 Tehran embassy siege became a full-blown hostage crisis. Fifty-two Americans were detained for 444 days until their release in January of 1981. US-Iran diplomatic ties have been severed ever since. Those icy relations may be thawing now, but for some in Iran the past is difficult to forget.