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Iran Declares “Death To America Day” To Mark 1979 Embassy Seizure

November 3, 1987 GMT

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Iranian leaders declared Wednesday a national holiday to mark the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and called on their people to take to the streets and make ″America tremble in fear.″

Tehran Radio, monitored in Nicosia on Tuesday, dubbed Nov. 4 ″Death to America Day.″

Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s chosen successor, said the Nov. 4, 1979 takeover of the embassy ″shattered the myth of American power.″

The radio predicted millions of Iranians would take part in marchs in Tehran and other cities ″to demonstrate their firm resolve to turn the Persian Gulf into a graveyard for the American aggressors.″

Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Parliament Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani as saying ″unprecedented enthusiasm″ for the rallies will demonstrate how Washington’s ″stupid policy″ of intervention in the Persian Gulf will ″yield sinister consequences.″

A task force of U.S. warships, backed by the navies of five of America’s European allies, has deployed in and around the gulf to protect neutral shipping from Iranian attacks and clear mines believed sown by the Iranians.

Rafsanjani, considered the most powerful figure in Iran after Khomeini, said the rallies will underline Iranian ″wrath and antipathy″ against the United States, IRNA reported in the dispatch monitored in Nicosia.

The state radio said Prime Minister Hussein Musavi declared Wednesday a national holiday to mark the storming of the U.S. Embassy in the early months of Khomeini’s Islamic revolution, which toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

After taking control of the embassy, Iranian militants held 52 Americans for 444 days before the Americans were freed in January 1981 under an agreement mediated by Algeria.

Nov. 4 also marks the 25th anniversary of Khomeini’s expulsion from Iran to Turkey by the shah, an event that planted the seeds of the Iran’s Islamic revolution. Wednesday is also the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, founder of Islam.

Rafsanjani, addressing Iran’s 270-seat Majlis, or Parliament, declared Nov. 4, 1979, ″an epoch-making day″ in Iranian history.

Wednesday’s demonstrations will ″be both a lesson for the White House tyrants and also an inspiration for the world’s oppressed,″ he said.

″Tomorrow is the day when the anger of our nation and the hatred of Moslems to the dictatorship of America will be exposed. I hope we can create an historic epic tomorrow that will teach arrogant powers not to follow the mistaken path of America,″ Rafsanjani declared.

Tehran Radio quoted Musavi as saying in a nationwide message: ″Tomorrow is a day when America should see our iron fists and understand our unfailing steadfastness.

″Tomorrow will be ... a day of God on which America should tremble ... the day when the arch-Satan will be placed under our feet.″

Montazeri echoed calls by other leaders for all Iranians to take part in Wednesday’s ″great march.″

The radio quoted him in the holy city of Qom, south of Tehran, as accusing the United States of aggression against Iran.

That was an apparent reference to U.S. Navy attacks on oil platforms in the gulf in retaliation for Iranian raids on shipping and missile attacks on a U.S.-flagged tanker off Kuwait.

Montazeri said the U.S. intervention in the gulf proves America is allied with Iraq. Iran and Iraq have been at war for seven years.

The Iranians, despite an almost daily barrage of anti-American rhetoric, have not directly challenged the firepower of the U.S. Navy in the gulf.