Iran had its largest anti-American rally in many years Monday when protesters in Tehran stomped on photos of U.S. President Barack Obama, marking the 34th anniversary of their takeover of the United States Embassy and to voice their defiance of the new President of Iran Hassan Rouhani.
The demonstration, which is held annually on the revolutionary calendar, was the biggest it has been in years as hardliners were able to mobilize thousands to express their displeasure of the efforts of rapprochement by Rouhani with Washington.
The gathering celebrated the siege of the former United States Embassy between 1979-1981. It was a defining moment of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, when radicals held 52 diplomats from the U.S. hostages a total of 444 days.
However, the huge turnout on Monday also was a challenge to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader in Iran, who on Sunday said that no one should be undermining the negotiations of Rouhani over the nuclear program with the West.
In a display of hard line sentiment, a pop singer from Iran sung Death to America a song that was a revolutionary slogan that supporters of Rouhani have considered shelving in their attempt to accommodate the White House administration.
Iran’s former negotiator for the nuclear program, Saeed Jalili, who was defeated in the presidential election in June by Rouhani, addressed the protesters.
Rouhani a moderate cleric, upset conservatives by accepting President Obama’s phone call during a trip in September to New York, while attending the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The conversation was the first between the two countries’ leaders since diplomatic relations had been severed following the embassy siege in Tehran in 1979.
Demonstrations also expressed their opposition to a possibility of renewed ties with the U.S. by standing on America flags while others hoisted banners saying to trample the U.S. under their feet and that the U.S. was the Great Satan.
A depiction of Obama wearing a wrestling uniform with a Star of David was carried around.
The images appeared to vindicate Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu who said there would be a big protest marking the anniversary, which is another reason pressure, must continue over the controversial nuclear program.