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Iran Marks US Embassy Siege Anniversary with Protests

Iranian woman holds a poster of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini in a state-backed rally in front of the former US Embassy in Tehran, 04 Nov 2010

Thousands of demonstrators in Iran chanted anti-American slogans Thursday at rallies marking the 31st anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy by Iranian students.

Protesters gathered at the site of the former embassy compound in Tehran, waving flags and anti-U.S. banners.

Iran's state-run media quote President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying the 1979 siege played a major role in the development of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Media reports also say Iran has designated November 4 as a "national day of resistance against global arrogance."

In 1979, Iranian students stormed the embassy compound. They held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days to protest U.S. policies. That move prompted Washington to cut diplomatic ties with Iran.

This year's demonstrations marking the anniversary lacked the internal political overtones that were evident last year. In 2009, Iranian security forces used batons and tear gas to break up anti-government protests that coincided with rallies.

The anti-government protests were part of a series of demonstrations that took place following Mr. Ahmadinejad's June re-election. Opposition activists claim the voting was rigged.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.