As Iran marks the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, there are signs that the Islamic Republic’s attitude toward the United States is as negative as ever.
The arrests of U.S. citizens, hints of a Cold War-style prisoner swap, fears of Western infiltration and even the shutdown of a lookalike KFC restaurant show the suspicion still held by hard-liners after the nuclear deal with world powers.
In the short term, things may even get worse, analysts say, as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei continues to warn about American influence, a crucial parliamentary election approaches and the country’s intelligence and military services try to hold onto their economic and political power.
On Wednesday, thousands demonstrated in front of the old U.S. Embassy, marking the 36th anniversary of students seizing 52 Americans hostage there after Washington refused to hand over the toppled U.S.-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The protest came despite the deal that will see Tehran limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Meanwhile, four Iranian-Americans are known to be held by Iran: Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post; former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati of Flint, Michigan; pastor Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho; and Siamak Namazi, a businessman and the son of a politician from the shah’s era.