1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Iran counterprotests celebrate 1979 US Embassy seizure

November 4, 2022

State-backed media showed images of anti-American demonstrations, with rallygoers waving Iranian flags. US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, vowed freedom for Iran as the regime faces an unparalleled uprising.

Iranians rally in front of former US embassy in Taiwan
In addition to Iranian flags, rallygoers also held placards of Iranian drones, a weapon Russia is currently using its war on Ukraine Image: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

The Iranian government held counterprotests on Friday, with participants marking the 1979 hostage crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran. 

The state-sponsored event comes as the Iranian regime faces a nationwide uprising following the death of 22-year-old Jina Mahsa Amini on September 16. Thousands of anti-government protesters have taken to the streets in recent weeks, demanding the downfall of the regime.    

What happened during the state-sponsored rallies?

State-backed media broadcast images of thousands of rallygoers waving Iranian flags and shouting anti-US slogans. Others held signs in favor of the Islamic regime and 83-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.    

Participants also played songs which described the US as a manifestation of Satan.

The counterprotests were concentrated in the capital, Tehran, but were also present in other parts of the country. Rallygoers convened in front of the capital's former US Embassy.

Iran's state-run media has labeled the anniversary celebration the "National Day against the Global Arrogance."  

A group of religious college students in Iran stormed the US Embassy 43 years ago, taking 52 US diplomats and citizens hostage. The event followed the Islamic Revolution earlier in the year, when the secular Pahlavi dynasty was overthrown in favor of a religious theocracy under then-Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.  

Protester kicks effigy of Uncle Sam during a rally outside the former US embassy
The demonstrators derided the US and Western media outlets such as the BBC and DWImage: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Biden: 'We're going to free Iran'

There have been massive protests across Iran since the death in custody of Amini. She was arrested by security forces for violating the country's compulsory headscarf policy, stirring anti-government unrest across the nation. Iranian officials claim her death was due to illness, not because of treatment by police. 

US President Joe Biden on Thursday expressed solidarity with anti-government protesters and promised to "free Iran" during a campaign event in California. A crowd held up cellphones with the message "Free Iran" as the president gave a speech. 

"Don't worry, we're gonna free Iran," Biden told the crowd. "They're gonna free themselves pretty soon."  

These remarks drew a swift rebuke from regime officials. 

"Mr. President, Iran became free 43 years ago and is determined not to be your prisoner. And we will never be a cash cow," Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Friday.   

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during state-sponsored rallies
Iranian President Ebrahim Raiai railed against US President Joe Biden during the ralliesImage: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also condemned Biden's remarks.

"Simultaneous with open support for violence and terror during recent riots in Iran, (the White House) is reaching out for an agreement," Abdollahian tweeted, in reference to talks which aim to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. "Mr. Biden: end this hypocrisy."  

Biden made the revival of the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a key part of his foreign policy agenda. Yet, the ongoing demonstrations against the Islamic regime and the government crackdown on the unrest could complicate those ambitions. 

wd/nm (Reuters, AP)