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Iranian hardliners prepare for US embassy takeover celebrations

 Hardline conservatives in Iran are gearing up for the commemoration of the 1979 seizure of the US embassy in Tehran on Tuesday.

Preparations for the anniversary are happening amid signs of a possible backlash against the recent easing of tensions in US–Iranian relations and growing speculation over possible concessions as part of international negotiations on Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

Members of Iran’s conservative camp say that the ceremony commemorating the embassy seizure—the event that has come to define the breakdown in relations between the US and Iran—will be held on a larger scale than previous years.

Also, as part of the “special ceremony” being held this year, hardliners unveiled on Saturday two new anti-American songs to be performed at the former US embassy site in Tehran, where the ceremony traditionally takes place.

Influential conservatives have also dismissed speculation that the slogan “Death to America,” often chanted at Friday prayer gatherings across the country, will be retired in light of possible improvements in US–Iran ties.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corp announced on Saturday that it will remain their slogan, regardless of signs of detente between the Islamic Republic and Washington.

“Death to America is the manifestation of our nation’s determination and resistance against the dominance of oppressive and untrustworthy America,” said a post on the organization’s website.

“The revolutionary hatred of Iranians will be manifested nationwide with slogans of ‘Death to America,’” the Iranian Revolutionary Guards also said on Monday.

The Iranian Parliament Speaker’s advisor for international affairs, Hossein Sheikholeslam, said that the use of the slogan reflected Iranians’ distrust of the US.

“We cannot trust the US yet and the “Death to the US” is a slogan that the Iranian nation has experienced and chants based on its historical experience,” Sheikholeslam told FNA on Sunday.
Meanwhile, there are signs that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is attempting to placate both the US and Iran’s conservatives.

Khamenei said on Sunday that he is not optimistic about the results of the talks with the West on Iran’s nuclear program, but supports the negotiations and Iranian negotiators.

“I do not think the negotiations will produce the results expected by Iran,” he told a group of students at his residence.

According to AFP, Khamenei criticized the US’s approach to the issue, saying that “the Americans smile and express a desire for negotiations, on the other hand, they immediately say that ‘all options are on the table,’” a phrase widely understood to mean military action.

Khamenei’s remarks come only a few days before a new round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers in Geneva on November 7 and 8.

Both sides say that recent talks have been productive, with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, expressing hope for a “new phase” of relations between Tehran and the international community.

Zarif and his team have faced increasing criticism at home from hardliners who claim that the negotiators could compromise Iran’s right to nuclear technology.

Khamenei, however, warned against such criticism on Sunday, and expressed support for the negotiators, who he said had a “difficult” task.

“No one should see our negotiating team as compromisers,” he said.
“They have undertaken a difficult mission and no one should undermine an agent on a mission.”


London, Asharq Al-Awsat
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