Chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were heard in Tehran on Thursday, as thousands of Iranians marked the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by students 37 years ago.
During the rally outside the former embassy building, participants also burned U.S. and Israeli flags, according to The Associated Press.
These chants are a regular occurrence at protests in Iran, despite the fact that the Islamic Republic and its “moderate” president, Hassan Rouhani, claim to want to improve ties with the West.
On November 4, 1979, Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy, taking 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after Washington refused to hand over Iran’s toppled shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, for trial in Iran.
The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since then though they engaged in direct contact before the signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Opponents have often cited the regular appearance of chanting anti-American crowds as evidence of Tehran’s true intentions with regards to the U.S., but Rouhani last year urged Americans not to take the “Death to America” chants personally.
“This slogan that is chanted is not a slogan against the American people. Our people respect the American people,” he insisted in a September 2015 interview on 60 Minutes, adding, “The Iranian people are not looking for war with any country.”