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Iran Guards want to keep 'Death to America' chant

In this picture taken on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008, Iranian Revolutionary Guards members march during a parade ceremony, just outside Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN: Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said Saturday that "Death to America" will remain their slogan, regardless of signs of detente between the Islamic republic and Washington.

"Death to America is the manifestation of our nation's determination and resistance against the dominance of oppressive and untrustworthy America," it said on its sepahnews.com website.

"The revolutionary hatred of Iranians will be manifested nationwide with slogans of 'Death to America'" on Monday, the Guards said.

November 4 is the 34th anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran, during which Islamist students captured and held 52 US diplomats hostage for 444 days.

The crisis triggered a cut in diplomatic relations and led to decades of mutual hostility.

"American espionage against governments and people in different countries is proof that leaders of the White House can not be trusted," the Guards said, referring to a row between Europe and Washington over alleged US spying on its allies.

Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani, who has pledged to improve ties with the West, held a historic telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

It was the first direct contact between leaders of the two countries in more than three decades.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has backed Rouhani's overtures but criticised some aspects of his UN visit as "inappropriate."

Iranians are also split over whether it is still appropriate to chant "Death to America" -- one of the main slogans of the 1979 Islamic revolution -- at official ceremonies.

Last week, Tehran municipality removed anti-American posters from the streets of the capital.

Conservatives have said Monday's ceremony to mark the seizure of the US embassy will be held on a larger scale than previous years, in response to gestures of rapprochement with the West.

 

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