Iranians chant 'death to America' on eve of biting sanctions

Iranians chant 'death to America' on eve of biting sanctions

Students attending the government-organised rally in the capital Tehran, broadcast live by state television, burned the Stars and Stripes, an effigy of Uncle Sam and pictures of President Donald Trump outside the former embassy compound.

On November 4, 1979, and in less than a year after the victory of the Islamic Revolution that toppled a US-backed monarchy, Iranian university students who called themselves "students following the line of (the late) Imam (Khomeini)" seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which had become a center of espionage and planning to overthrow the newly established Islamic system in Iran.

Iranian state media said millions turned out for rallies in most cities and towns around the country, swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and its hardline authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The figure could not be independently confirmed by Reuters.

Iran's clerically-led government celebrates the embassy takeover every year as a decisive blow against the United States, which had supported the autocratic rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The Trump administration has worked to crush Tehran's oil exports to zero since May, when Mr. Trump withdrew the USA from the multilateral deal endorsed by the Obama administration that eased global sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's suspect nuclear programs.

Aside from economic opportunities, Trump White House critics claim Washington's exit from the Iran nuclear deal and the renewal of sanctions would reignite Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Trump said the deal, approved by predecessor Barack Obama, was weak and flawed in Iran's favour. The other signatories - Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - remain committed to the accord.

On Fox, Pompeo called the penalties "the toughest sanctions ever put in place on the Islamic Republic of Iran" and defended the U.S.' decision to give eight unidentified countries more time to wean themselves off Iranian crude oil. He did not elaborate.

The oil sector is perhaps the most affected by the re-imposed sanctions.

"We can assure our people that the enemy will not be able to carry out its threats against our country", IRNA quoted Habibollah Sayyari, the coordinating officer, as saying.

Asked if the USA had assurances from India and China - suspected to be among the nations getting waivers - that they would eventually give up importing oil from Iran, Pompeo wouldn't say. "The whole world understands these sanctions are real", he said during an interview of CBS's Face the Nation.

"America's goal has been to re-establish the domination it had (before 1979) but it has failed".

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