Tehran: A commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards has offered a pot of gold to anyone who can prove that the United States of America happens not to be “the most criminal regime on earth” on the occasion of 33rd anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Iranian capital, Tehran.
The commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, addressed to a crowd of thousands outside the building that once housed the US embassy. He said that 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of gold will be given to anyone who can prove a regime “more criminal than the United States.”
But, he added, that will be impossible, because the Guard has “already done the research and found Washington is the worst on earth.”
Naqdi’s speech was in keeping with the defiant rhetoric that Iran’s leadership often uses during the annual rallies marking the embassy seizure. He also said that Iran will only restore diplomatic ties with the United States if Washington disbands the CIA and removes its bases from the region.
As he spoke, Iranian students outside the former embassy building chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” and burned US and Israeli flags.
The rally marked the November 4, 1979 storming of the embassy by Iranian students who held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days to protest America’s refusal to hand over the toppled Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi back to the country for trial.
Washington severed relations with Tehran after the embassy takeover, and they have not been restored since.
This year’s demonstration in Tehran, which under the Persian calendar fell two days ahead of the anniversary according to the Western calendar, comes as Iran’s relations with the West are at their lowest yet. Concerns are also rising as Israel has threatened to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities if Tehran doesn’t stop alleged uranium enrichment.
The West suspects Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons. Tehran has denied the charges, saying its program is peaceful and geared toward generating electricity and producing radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.
Iran has been hard hit by intensified US and European Union economic sanctions meant to curb the suspected nuclear program.
At Friday’s rally, students waved a dummy of US President Barack Obama and distributed pamphlets denouncing America and the sanctions. One banner called Obama a “loyal dog” of Israel, with a caricature showing the US president with a metal chain around his neck linked to an Israeli flag.
Naqdi, who commands the Guard’s paramilitary branch known as the Basij, set his own “conditions” for resumption of diplomatic relations with the US in a speech to the crowd.
Nadqi said that the US must abolish the CIA, pull out its warships from the Persian Gulf and dismantle its military bases in 50 countries around the world if it wants to restore ties with Tehran.
“They (the US) must prove they’ve grown into sensible human beings and stop supporting the usurper Zionist regime,” he added.
A statement released by the organizers of the event said that the US will remain Iran’s “No. 1 enemy and the Great Satan.”