DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran on Friday marked the 1979 occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran as its theocracy faced nationwide protests after the death of a 22-year-old woman in September. He was arrested by the moral police of the country. Meanwhile, activists in southeastern Iran have claimed that security forces have killed at least 16 people in protests there.

Iran’s state television broadcast live feeds of various memorials across the country, some in Tehran waving placards of the triangular-shaped Iranian drones that Russia now uses to hit targets in its war against Ukraine. . But while crowds in Tehran were accompanied by veiled women waving the flag of the Islamic Republic, other events in the country appeared smaller, with only a few dozen people attending.

Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi criticized the anti-theocracy protesters while addressing a crowd outside the former US embassy building.

He said that anyone who takes the smallest step in the direction of violation of security and riots should know that they are taking a step in the direction of the enemies of the Islamic Revolution. “The Americans think they can carry out the plan they did in some countries like Syria and Libya. What a pipe dream!”

Participants in the commemoration ceremony also waved effigies of French President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Signs and chants were raised from the crowd: “Death to America! Down to Israel!”

The seven weeks of protests that have gripped Iran since Mehsa Amini’s death marked one of the biggest challenges to the country’s clerical rulers since they seized power in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. At least 314 protesters have been killed and 14,170 arrested since the unrest began, according to human rights activists in Iran, which is monitoring a crackdown on protesters.

Iran’s government has not offered a total death toll, with one state-run newspaper even claiming to the contrary that no one had been killed by security forces during the 49 days of protests.

Later on Friday, protests erupted in Iran’s southeastern provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan, which have seen weeks of unrest. Online videos show people marching through the streets and throwing some stones, with gunfire and clouds of tear gas rising in the background. Some protesters were seen covered in blood, while footage later showed bodies in a morgue.

The advocacy group HalVash claimed that security forces killed at least 16 people on Friday, nine of whom were identified by name.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency later reported that protesters set fire to a police stand in the city of Khash in Sistan and Baluchistan and attacked the local governor’s office.

On Thursday, a Shiite cleric was reportedly shot dead in Sistan and Baluchistan, a long-Sunni-majority province.

Hardliners inside Iran have long included government workers and others in such Nov. 4 protests, which have a carnival-like feel to students and others on Talqani Street in central Tehran.

This year, however, it has been clear that Iran’s theocracy hopes to strengthen its hardline base. Some signs read “We obey the leader,” referring to 83-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state in the country. Weeks of protests have included calls for Khamenei’s death and the overthrow of the government.

Annual Commemorations When student protesters scaled the embassy fence on November 4, 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter allowed the terminally ill Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to receive cancer treatment in the United States.

Students soon occupied the entire, leafy compound. A few crew members escaped and hid in the home of the Canadian ambassador to Iran before fleeing the country with the help of the CIA, a story dramatized in the 2012 film “Argo.”

The 444-day crisis changed America, as nightly images of blindfolded hostages were played on television sets across the country. Iran finally released all the captives the day Carter left office on Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981.

Speaking on the anniversary, State Department spokesman Ned Price said officials were “grateful for the selfless sacrifice of our diplomats who served in Tehran” and called for the release of Americans detained by Iran.

“The Iranian government has a long history of unjustly imprisoning foreign nationals for political gain,” Price said.

The rivalry between Iran and the US has been growing for decades. The United States and world powers reached a nuclear deal with Iran in 2015 that drastically curtailed its program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. However, then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018, sparking years of tension since then.

At a rally ahead of the US midterm elections in California late on Thursday, President Joe Biden also stopped his speech to address a crowd that held up cellphones emblazoned with the message “Free Iran”. .

“Don’t worry, we’re going to liberate Iran,” Biden said during a campaign rally for Democratic Rep. Mike Levin. “They are going to liberate themselves very soon,” he added.

In his speech on Friday, Raisi referenced Biden’s comments.

“Maybe he said it because of a lack of concentration. … He said our goal is to liberate Iran,” Raisi said. “Mr. President! Iran was liberated 43 years ago, and has vowed never to be your captive again. We will never be a cash cow.

On Friday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby described Biden’s comments as “an expression of solidarity with the protesters, as he has been doing since the beginning.”

“It is up to the people of Iran to determine their future. And that has not changed,” Kirby said.

Biden had said he was open to rejoining the U.S. in the nuclear deal, but talks have broken down. Since the protests began in mid-September, the U.S. stance has appeared to harden, with officials saying that restoring a deal during the protests is not a priority.

On Friday, some protesters waved large atomic placards as a reminder that Iran is now building closer to weapons-grade uranium than ever before. Non-proliferation experts have warned that Iran now has enough enriched uranium to build at least one nuclear weapon if it wanted to, although Tehran insists its program is peaceful.

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