Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Anti-American sentiments in Tehran

Thousands of Iranians gathered in front of the former US embassy in Tehran on Wednesday to mark the 26th anniversary of it's takeover in the nascent days of the Islamic Republic following the overthrow of the Shah.

More than 10,000 demonstrators, including Iran-Iraq war veterans and high school students chanted "death to America" and "death to Israel," in front of the former embassy.

They burned US and Israeli flags and effigies of US President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Arial Sharon

The annual ceremony usually draws a large crowd, but emotions were clearly more intense this year. Anti-Israeli sentiment in the country has been high since hard-line President Mohamoud Ahmadinejad called for last week for Israel to be "wiped off the map". His comment led to a flood of international criticism.

Demonstrators carried a large picture of Ahmadinejad with the words "Israel must be wiped out of the world" written on it.

Some demonstrators wore a traditional Palestinian headdress, symbolising their support for the resistance against Israel. The protesters also supported Iran's nuclear programme and asked the government not to give it up.

One demonstrator, a student, said "we are from the same generation of those students who took over the American embassy. We want to tell America that we won't let them dominate our country, they should know that nuclear energy is our obvious right."

Another said "we have come here to say that America cannot do a damn thing".Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranians have celebrated the 4 November takeover of the embassy by militant students. The students took 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days.

The demonstrations began two days earlier this year on account of Eid, the Islamic world's largest festival, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The United States, which has broken off diplomatic relations with Iran since the embassy takeover, suspects Iran's nuclear programme is a front for developing weapons, reports the AP. Photo: AP I.L.