Thousands of Iranians commemorated the takeover of the American embassy in 1979 by marching through the streets of Tehran shouting “Death to America” and “Death to the House of Saud,” Agence France-Presse reported Thursday.
Speaking to the crowd outside the former American embassy, Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), boasted that the United States was in decline. “America is no longer number one and the first power of the world,” he said. “America’s political will can no longer manage political and military development in…the world of Islam. America’s political power has strongly declined.”
Salami reiterated that Iran’s enmity towards the United States would not diminish with time. “Our fight with the Americans will continue,” he said, adding that “pursuing our ideals in the world of Islam and in Iran, we will recognize no stopping point or red line.”
He also told the United States not to criticize Iran’s ballistic missile program, calling the program “the real center of our power [that] must be strengthened.”
On November 3, 1979, students supporting Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini stormed the embassy, holding staffers there hostage for 444 days.
One of the hostage takers, Hossein Sheikholeslam, now an advisor to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, told The Tehran Times on Wednesday that “under international law, Iran had the right to do what it thought was right.”
According to international law, a nation’s embassy is regarded as “inviolable,” with article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations declaring that “the receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of mission or impairment of its dignity.”