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Page last updated at 16:04 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Iran marks US embassy takeover

Iranian school girls burn an effigy of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice outside the former US embassy, Tehran (3 November, 2008)
School girls demonstrate outside the former US embassy in Tehran

Demonstrations have been held in Iran to mark the 29th anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran.

The Islamic revolution in 1979 took over from the US backed regime of the Shah and installed the clerical rule of Ayatollah Khomeini.

Students stormed the US Embassy on 4 November 1979 taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

The hostages were released in 1981 and relations between Washington and Tehran have never recovered.

The old US embassy compound is now used by the Revolutionary Guards and the walls are plastered with anti-American slogans.

BBC Tehran correspondent Jon Leyne says demonstrators made use of the traditional chant of "death to Israel, death to America", but on a wet morning in Tehran, school children and students helped make up the numbers and only a few people seemed to be listening to the speeches.

"The evil power of Israel is waning" said one speaker, others launched long tirades against the power of the American government.

US Election

The anniversary comes as Iranians, like the rest of the world, await the result of the US election with high anticipation.

Our correspondent says that despite the rhetoric many, probably most Iranians long for a reconciliation with the United States.

Some demonstrators expressed a hope that it might become possible if Barack Obama becomes the next US President, he said.

Jon Leyne says that even President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is hoping for a diplomatic breakthrough, although there is no sign he is willing to make any of the compromises that would make that possible.

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SEE ALSO
Country profile: Iran
24 Oct 08 |  Country profiles
1979: US embassy stormed in Tehran
31 May 07 |  On This Day


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