On Friday, citizens gathered across Iran to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the seizure of the United States Embassy in Tehran. Thousands of protesters paraded in front of the abandoned compound to chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” while burning U.S. and Israeli flags. Joyous revelers made their way through the streets, carrying models of ballistic missiles with “Made in Iran” painted on the sides.
The hostage crisis began on November 4, 1979 and ended on January 20, 1981. Originally, 66 Americans were seized but their captors quickly released 13 women and African-Americans, expressing sympathy for ‘oppressed minorities.’
A seriously ill prisoner was freed in July of 1980 and the remaining 52 hostages were held by radical Iranian students for a total of 444 days. After regaining their freedom, the former hostages revealed they were subjected to torture and extensive abuse by their Iranian captors.
The events played a large part in the defeat of Jimmy Carter and the victory of underdog Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. The prolonged standoff forever tainted the memory of President Carter’s single term in office and gave credence to his image as a weak, indecisive leader.
Determined to humiliate America at every opportunity, Iran timed the release of the hostages to coincide with President Reagan’s inauguration. At the exact moment the newly elected Reagan finished his inaugural address, Iran triumphantly returned the hostages to United States custody.
During today’s demonstrations, students displayed a banner proclaiming Obama a “loyal dog of Israel.” The angry Iranians burned Obama in effigy and passed out leaflets denouncing the sanctions imposed on Iran by the international community.
General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, informed the crowd that his offer of 22 pounds of gold to anyone who found a “regime more criminal than the United States” would remain unclaimed. The general declared his troops “have already done the research and found Washington is the worst on earth.”
Naqdi recited a list of conditions the United States must satisfy to restore relations with Iran. In order to receive Iran’s forgiveness, America must abolish the CIA, remove its warships from the Persian Gulf, dismantle its military bases in 50 countries around the world and “(the U.S.) must prove they’ve grown into sensible human beings and stop supporting the usurper Zionist regime.”
This year’s anniversary was labeled “the National Day against the Global Arrogance.” General Naqdi commented on the importance of the occasion:
“Today we commemorate the conquering of the castle of Satan! In [previous] days, the US could change governments with one phone call. But we took their embassy, and today we witness the fallen and miserable America in front of Iran.”
Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency released a statement about the celebration:
“Thousands of Iranians from all walks of life, comprising students, university students, and business persons, commemorated the National Day of Campaign against Global Arrogance and the National Student Day on Friday.”
“Participants in the annual rally in front of the former US embassy in Tehran known by the Iranians as “the den of spies” vowed to follow the path of the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini, and renewed allegiance to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.”
Both America and Israel chose not to respond to the provocation of today’s events in Iran. No comments were forth coming from Washington or Jerusalem and President Obama and the White House had no comments on Naqdi’s impossible conditions to restore diplomatic ties with Iran.