TEHRAN: Tens of thousands of demonstrators packed the streets on Monday outside the former US Embassy in Tehran in the biggest anti-American rally in years, a show of support for hard-line opponents of President Hassan Rowhani’s historic outreach to Washington.
Such protests occur every year outside the former embassy compound to mark the anniversary of the 1979 takeover following the Islamic Revolution. But the latest demonstration is the largest in years after calls by groups such as the powerful Revolutionary Guard for a major showing, including chants of “death to America” that some of Rowhani’s backers have urged halted.
The crowds also send a message to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who cautiously has backed Rowhani’s overtures to the US and efforts to end the impasse with the West over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Protesters also stomped on images of Obama and the US flag. Others carried well-known banners reading “We trample America under our feet” and “The US is the Great Satan.” One image showed Obama in a wrestling uniform with Star of David earrings, symbolizing Israel.