Thousands of Iranians took to the streets to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover and resulting hostage crisis.
Iranians gathered near the site of the former U.S. Embassy, chanting “death to America” in honor of the historic embassy seizure on Monday. The demonstrators burned U.S. and Israeli flags, as well as an effigy of President Trump. The gatherings took place in more than 1,000 cities throughout Iran.
In one demonstration, the commander of the Iranian army, Abdolrahim Mousavi, compared the United States to a “poisonous scorpion” that must be crushed.
“Our fight with America is over our independence, over not submitting to bullying, over values, beliefs, and our religion,” he said. “They [Americans] will continue their hostilities, like the proverbial poisonous scorpion whose nature it is to sting and cannot be stopped unless it is crushed.”
Forty years have passed since the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fell from power after years of support from the U.S. When the Shah fell in 1979, students stormed the U.S. Embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
The hostages were released on the last day of President Jimmy Carter’s presidency following President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration.
The two countries have been enemies since the hostage crisis. Former President Barack Obama attempted to negotiate and improve relations with Iran as part of his nuclear agreement, but President Trump scrapped the agreement shortly after taking office.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there will be no negotiations with Trump.
“Those who believe that negotiations with the enemy will solve our problems are 100% wrong,” he stated.