Iranians mark anniversary of USA embassy seizure amid escalating tensions

Tuesday, 05 Nov, 2019

Iran launched a new array of 30 advanced centrifuges on Monday, the country's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told state television in a move that further scaled back Tehran's commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

President Hassan Rouhani had earlier said that Iran is retaliating against U.S. sanctions.

Mr Trump quit the nuclear agreement that curbed Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for the removal of UN, US and European sanctions previous year, demanding that Iran negotiate a broader pact that halts its ballistic missiles work and end its support for proxy forces in the Middle East. Tehran said earlier this year it would gradually shed its commitments under the deal and is due to announce its next step within days unless the USA lifts economic sanctions.

Iran has announced a tenfold increase in enriched uranium production as Tehran backs away from its nuclear deal with the west. On Sunday, the leader reiterated that Iran will never engage in talks with the USA and will not yield to the "maximum pressure campaign".

Iran remains reluctant to engage in talks, saying they will yield no results as Washington is prawn to easily changing its mind on any deal it had signed before.

"One of the reasons why our dear country's security today has become exemplary to enemies' dismay, is the absence of the American embassy in Tehran", it added.

The hostage-taking - brought to Americans' living rooms for 444 days in one of the first global crises televised in near real-time - still haunts relations between the two former allies which have never re-established diplomatic relations.

The deal was brokered in 2015 and included Iran agreeing to limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions, in particular on oil exports.

M Macron tried to arrange a failed meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his American counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in NY in September.

Speaking in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Mousavi referred to America as a "scorpion" and said the "era of imposing pressure with zero expense is over".

Khamenei was quoted on his official website in a speech to thousands of students, a day before the 40th anniversary of the US Embassy takeover in Tehran.

The actions came on the 40th anniversary of Iranian students' takeover of the USA embassy in Tehran when over 50 United States diplomats were held hostage for 444 days. The violence comes after the hard-line Keyhan newspaper in Iran reiterated a call for demonstrators to seize U.S. and Saudi diplomatic posts in Iraq in response to the unrest.

The U.S. has increased its military presence across the Mideast, including basing troops in Saudi Arabia for the first time since the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Replica missiles and the same type of air defence battery used to shoot down a U.S. drone in June were put on display outside the former embassy turned museum in Tehran.