RFE/RL IRAN REPORT, Vol. 3, No. 42, 6 November 2000

Iranians commemorated the 21st anniversary of the 1979
seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on 3 November this
year. This day is known as the "National Day of the
Campaign Against Global Arrogance," or 13 Aban, its date on
the Persian calendar. 13 Aban also marks the day Father of
the Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was exiled to
Turkey in 1964 and university students were killed by the
shah's troops in 1978.
To mark this occasion, schoolchildren were bussed in
and thousands of other people marched through Tehran until
they met in front of the U.S. Embassy to hold a rally, hear
speeches, and burn flags. Israel was a major focus of this
year's speeches and organizers distributed banners stating
in English that "Israel must be eliminated from the arena
of the universe." The U.S. was condemned for supporting
Calls for participation in the rally from the Martyrs
Foundation (Bonyad Shahid), Islamic Revolution Guards Corps
(IRGC), and the General Staff of the Armed Forces also
criticized the U.S. for its relationship with Israel. The
Office for Strengthening Unity, the student group which has
effectively succeeded the one that led the embassy seizure,
was criticized by "Kayhan" on 2 November because it had
"refrained from issuing any anti-American statement or
calling on students to participate in [the] rally." The OSU
also was criticized because it had not issued a statement
about the "Intifada of Al-Aqsa Mosque and on the crimes of
the Zionist regime."
Parliament speaker Hojatoleslam Mehdi Karrubi added
that Ayatollah Khomeini was exiled because he objected to
U.S.-imposed capitulations that he claimed gave U.S.
citizens immunity from prosecution for any crimes committed
in Iran.
The parliament, meanwhile, approved legislation on 1
November that allows "victims of U.S. interference" to sue
the U.S. The law was approved on its second reading amid
shouts of "Death to America." The Guardians Council
endorsed the bill one day later. This measure was a
reaction to recent U.S. legislation that permits American
victims of state-sponsored terrorism to be paid damages
which the U.S. would attempt to recover from Iran. Former
hostages, such as Terry Anderson, or victims' families,
such as that of the murdered Marine Corps Colonel William
Higgins, will receive over $213 million. Iranian state
radio on 1 November described the U.S. measure as
"blackmailing," and this encouraged Iran to follow a "tit-
for-tat policy."
Meanwhile, "Takeover in Tehran," a book by one of the
Iranian hostagetakers, was released in Persian (in Iran)
and English (in Canada) in the first week of November. The
author, Masumeh Ebtekar (a.k.a. Sister Mary), said that the
book is an attempt to "clarify the distortions" made in
American accounts of the hostage crisis. She told AP that
"The seizure was a reaction to years of American
interference in Iran's internal affairs. It was an attempt
by a nation to preserve its dignity undermined by America's
domination." Ebtekar currently serves as a vice president
in Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami's government. Abbas Abdi,
Ebrahim Asqarzadeh, and Said Hajjarian are some of the
other hostagetakers who wield political and ideological
influence in the current government. (Bill Samii)

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