Iranians mark the 36th anniversary of the US Embassy takeover in Tehran on Nov. 4. It is the first commemoration since the July nuclear deal was announced between Iran and the world powers. Some Iranian officials and media — concerned that the two years of negotiating directly with US officials may soften the “Death to America” chant heard in the government-funded rallies — used Nov. 3 speeches to remind Iranians why the embassy was taken over and how America’s historical role in Iran has been counter to national movements toward independence. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke to college students Nov. 3, saying Iran’s fight against “arrogance” — which is a term used primarily for the United States but also applies to other world powers — is based on experience. As a message to others within the administration and other moderate political figures who advocate for better relations with the United States, Khamenei said, “Some should understand that friendship and relations with the United States will not end American hostilities and conspiracies.” Khamenei justified the US Embassy takeover because Iranians believed that it was serving as a “den of spies and the center of plots against the Iranian nation and the new Islamic revolution.” Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for 444 days, ending a quarter-century-strong bond between the Iranian and US governments.
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