- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Thousands gathered in Tehran on Wednesday, setting American flags and effigies of President Obama on fire as Iran marked the 36th anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the capital city’s U.S. Embassy.

New anti-U.S. propaganda billboards — including one mocking the Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph that symbolized Marine sacrifice during World War II — were seen in Tehran, and the streets rang out with anti-American chants, NBC reported.

The anti-U.S. propaganda and rallies demonstrate Iran’s continued hostility toward’s the U.S., a sentiment many hoped would shift after the signing of a nuclear agreement with Tehran. 

And the Islamic Republic’s disdain for all things Western has become more evident in recent weeks. 

On Tuesday, state television announced the arrest of Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese-American missing for weeks — after he had been invited to Iran by the government. He has been accused of spying, The New York Times reported

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, said Tuesday the “Death to America” slogan often heard at anti-U.S. rallies in Tehran is eternal. 

And in an apparent effort to keep U.S.-associated businesses out of Tehran, an Iranian knockoff version of K.F.C., the fast-food chicken chain, was closed two days after it opened. 

“We are here to say, ‘Down with the USA,’ ” a 59-year-old teacher who gave his name as Abdolah told NBC on Wednesday. “We will never … let [sic] to open this embassy again. It was not embassy — it was a place for spies.”

“If the embassy reopened, I would set it on fire,” added a housewife named Alibakhshi. “Me and my children are willing to die for this.” 

Crowds also rallied against U.S. allies including Israel, the U.K. and Saudi Arabia. 

Students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979, and took dozens of Americans hostage. The hostages were held for more than 400 days, and the crisis prompted the U.S. to sever ties with Iran.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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