Iran celebrates 30 years of hostage drama – police cracks down on protesters
Published on TV channel ntv on November 4 2009
On the 30th anniversary of the hostage drama in the US Embassy in Tehran, the Iranian police used tear gas against protesting opposition supporters. While thousands of pro-government Iranians were demonstrating against the USA, as they usually do on this day, supporters of the opposition alongside the official celebrations protested against the controversial reelection of Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
According to eyewitnesses, several anti-government protesters were arrested. An opposition website reported that security forces had fired into the crowd, several people had been injured. The authorities had barred the opposition from demonstrations on the day of the anniversary, and had warned of “determined” action by the police.
On November 4 in 1979, Iranian students occupied the US Embassy in Tehran. The embassy staff was taken hostage for 444 days. Since then, the USA has not maintained any diplomatic relations with Tehran. Every year, several thousands of protesters gather in front of the building which today is used by the Revolutionary Guards, to burn US flags and chant anti-American slogans.
Obama speaks of making a new start
U.S. President Barack Obama in a statement reiterated his wish to start new relations with Iran. The US wants to leave the past behind and build relations with Iran that are based on “mutual interests and respect”, Obama said. The Iranian government must now decide “whether it wants to focus on the past, or whether it will make the choices that will open the door to greater opportunity, prosperity, and justice for its people”
Following the reelection of Ahmadinejad in June, the Islamic Republic had gone through the heaviest unrests in three decades.
Militia and Revolutionary Guards violently cracked down on the protests of the opposition which accuses the Government of electoral fraud. Thousands of people were arrested, several were killed.