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Tuesday 11 December 2018

Iran displays missile to mark anniversary of US Embassy takeover

General Mohammad Ali Jafari told a conference called A World Without Terror in Tehran that Iran's supreme leader has limited the range of ballistic missiles it makes to 1,240 miles or 2,000km (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
General Mohammad Ali Jafari told a conference called A World Without Terror in Tehran that Iran's supreme leader has limited the range of ballistic missiles it makes to 1,240 miles or 2,000km (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iran has displayed a surface-to-surface missile as part of events marking the anniversary of the 1979 US Embassy takeover and hostage crisis amid uncertainty about its nuclear deal with world powers.

Thousands gathered at the former US Embassy in central Tehran where the missile, believed to be a 1,243-mile (2,000km) range solid-fuel Sejjil, was on show. It was the first time Iran had displayed a missile during the annual gathering.

Later in the day, the semi-official Tasnim news agency, which has ties to the elite Revolutionary Guard, said the missile was a Qadr-F that has the same range.

Hundreds of Iranian militant students stormed the US Embassy following the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. They took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after Washington refused to hand over the shah, who was in the US.

A crowd chanted "Down with the US" and "Death to Israel" during the anniversary celebration. State TV said similar celebrations were being held in other Iranian cities and towns. They also burned flags of both the US and Israel as well as an effigy of President Donald Trump.

President Trump refused to re-certify the 2015 landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in October and the US has imposed more sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile programme.

The US Congress must now make a decision regarding the 2015 nuclear deal, in which Iran agreed to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the country's Supreme National Security Council, addressed the crowd, saying Iran will make any sanctions imposed by the US "ineffective" even as America targets Iran's economic, nuclear and defensive power.

Mr Shamkhani, alluding to Mr Trump's threats against North Korea, said even US allies know that the US president "has no power to realise his bluffs, against Iran, too". He called the US the "eternal enemy" of Iran.

The former embassy in Tehran is now a cultural centre while standing as a symbol of a US defeat for many Iranians. Many Iranians call it the "den of spies".

The US cut diplomatic ties with Iran following the embassy takeover and has had no diplomatic relations since.

AP

Press Association

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