Demonstrations were held in roughly 1,000 cities across the country of Iran on Monday, to mark the 40th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy where 52 Americans were taken hostage in 1979.
In Tehran, thousands of Iranians gathered near the site of the former embassy, chanting, "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!" while burning the flags of both countries. An effigy of President Donald Trump was also set on fire.
Reuters reported that Iranian army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi spoke to the crowd in Tehran, saying, "Our fight with America is over our independence, over not submitting to bullying, over values, beliefs or religion. 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."
'Death to America': Iran marks 40th anniversary of Tehran embassy attack www.youtube.com
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement on Monday, saying:
Forty years ago today, Iranian militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran, taking more than 50 Americans hostage for 444 days. Today, we honor the victims of this brazen act. The Iranian regime continues to target innocent civilians for use as pawns in its failed foreign relations. Until Iran changes this and its other hostile behavior, we will continue to impose crippling sanctions. The Iranian regime has a choice. Instead of being the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, it can put the Iranian people first. It can choose peace over hostage taking, assassinations, sabotage, maritime hijacking, and attacks on global oil markets. The United States seeks peace, and we support the Iranian people. It is time for the Iranian regime to do the same.
The U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overtaken in 1979 by Marxist student protestors after the fall of the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The Washington Examiner noted that the American hostages inside were not released until "the last day of President Jimmy Carter's presidency following President Ronald Reagan's inauguration."
Relations between the U.S. and Iran have been tense for decades, but became even more strained after America re-imposed economic sanctions against the Islamic regime following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Obama administration's Iran nuclear deal.