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Iran protesters hold largest anti-US rally in years

QuestCinq.com/News

Tens of thousands of demonstrators packed the streets Monday outside the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran in the biggest anti-American rally in years, a show of support for hardline opponents of President Hassan Rouhani’s historic outreach to Washington.

Such protests occur every year to mark the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the embassy by following the Islamic Revolution. But the latest demonstration was the largest in years after calls by groups, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard, for a major showing. Protestors held anti-U.S. signs and shouted “Death to America,” a standard refrain that some moderate Rouhani backers have recently criticized.

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The crowds also sent a message to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has cautiously backed Rouhani’s overtures to the U.S. and efforts to end the impasse with the West over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Opponents of thawing relations with the U.S. say they will not back down, opening the prospect of deeper internal rifts that could put pressure on Khamenei to reconsider his backing of Rouhani’s groundbreaking exchanges with the U.S.

In September, Rouhani accepted a call from President Barack Obama following the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where Secretary of State John Kerry held talks with Iran’s foreign minister. Ties between the two countries were severed in 1979 when, ten months after the fall of the U.S.-allied shah, students stormed the U.S. embassy, taking hostage 52 staff for 444 days. There have been no U.S.-Iranian diplomatic relations since.

Source: Al Jazeera

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