‘Death to America,’ Massive Protests Held in Iranian Cities

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Tens of thousands of protesters in Tehran and cities across Iran Friday chanted “Death to America” in the Islamic republic’s annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day demonstration.

Even in stifling heat approaching 100 degrees (38 Celcius), the crowds were undeterred. Participants in the demonstrations included President Hasan Rouhani, his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, his brother Sadeq, head of the judiciary branch of the government, General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, commander of the ground forces of the Iranian army and General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Saudi Arabia was added to the equation this year, as entire families joined the protest and screamed “Down with U.S., Israel and the House of Saud.”

Posters with pictures of U.S. President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi King Salman were torched as well as an effigies of the Islamic State ( labeled “Saudi’s doll,”) and effigies of the devil wrapped in American and Israel flags. 

The Iranian government facilitated participation in the demonstration in Tehran by bussing in participants and making travel on the subway free for the day.  

The demonstration has been held every year against the State of Israel since the Islamic takeover of Iran in 1979.

This year was no exception in spite of the intense negotiations being conducted by the world powers with the Iranian regime to reign in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in exchange for massive sanctions relief that have strangled Iran's economy.

Iran held up the signing of an agreement with last-minute demands which have seemingly gutted any meaningful agreement. Those demands included the lifting sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, the termination of a U.N. general arms embargo on the Islamic republic, no inspections of military sites, continued enrichment of uranium and holding on to its Arak plutonium reactor.

America dropped its demand for unannounced inspections, paving the way for signing an agreement early this week, it was reported on Friday.

Yet in Iran, it appears far-reaching concessions by the United States are not enough. Supreme Leader Khamenei vowed to continue Iran’s opposition to the U.S.  Speaking with university students in Tehran on Sunday, Khamenei said, "The US is the complete instance of arrogance."

Further, he warned, that even with a nuclear agreement, the "campaign against the arrogant powers [the U.S.] and hegemonic system is one of the tenets and essence of the revolution. We would not be subordinate to the Koran if we stop the campaign against the arrogance."

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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