Iranians Mark 1979 US Embassy Takeover

The revelation of secret CIA documents at the US Embassy was very similar to what WikiLeaks is doing these days
People in Tehran march in front of the former US Embassy on Nov. 3 to mark its 1979 takeover.People in Tehran march in front of the former US Embassy on Nov. 3 to mark its 1979 takeover.

Iranians took to the streets across the nation on Thursday to demonstrate their disapproval of US policies on the anniversary of the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran 37 years ago.

This year, Nov. 3 corresponded with the 13th of Aban in the Iranian calendar, which is known as Students Day to honor those who stormed the "Den of Espionage" and captured its operatives.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday the seizure of the embassy, which aimed to overthrow the Islamic Republic, was a "natural response" to Washington's hostilities.

"Although decades have gone by after after the incident and direct talks were held between the authorities of the two countries over Iran's nuclear program, the US still pursues an aggressive policy toward the Islamic Republic," the Leader was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Imam Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Republic, hailed the takeover as a "second revolution" after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, which toppled the Shah of Iran.

  WikiLeaks of Their Time

The Iranian students who stormed the US Embassy and released thousands of secret CIA documents that were "the WikiLeaks of their time", their former lead spokesperson said in remarks published on Thursday.

Massoumeh Ebtekar, who is now Iran's vice president, said she is proud of their work in releasing documents found in the CIA's files.  Some of those files were painstakingly reassembled after embassy staff frantically shredded as many documents as possible when the students stormed the building.

"Revealing these documents was very similar to what WikiLeaks is doing these days. It was the WikiLeaks of those ages," Ebtekar told AFP.

The documents unveiled the CIA's attempts to recruit leading Iranian politicians, including a liberal who became the first post-revolution president, Abolhassan Banisadr, and contributed to his decision to flee Iran. Ebtekar said the documents, later compiled in 77 volumes of "Documents from the US Espionage Den," also showed how Washington was working to subvert popular uprisings around the world.

"It was a very important milestone in terms of global politics," she said.

  Coup Plot

At the time of the seizure, the students were convinced that the United States was preparing another coup to reverse the revolution.

"They were not militants, radicals. They thought there was an imminent danger ... of another coup d’état that would have led to the downfall of the very young and fragile Islamic Revolution," she said

Looming large in every Iranian's mind was the 1953 CIA-organized coup in which the US and Britain conspired to overthrow the enormously popular prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, who had nationalized Iran's oil resources.

"They installed a government that was a puppet to American policies for 25 years, a tyrant who had imposed dictatorship; very dark ages for Iran," Ebtekar said.

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