USA and Iran: a story of spies, hostages & a den of espionage

22 November 2011 | By Lavanya

Topics: Iran, Places

 

It’s no secret that Iran and the United States share a rather tense relationship, although we didn’t really come across any anti America animosity from the many people we met with in the country. In fact if the growing number of burger joints and the rising popularity of American music are anything to go by, the young people of Iran are probably some of the biggest fans of America in this part of the world.

Graffiti outside the old embassy building showing Khomeini

Graffiti outside the old embassy building showing Khomeini

 

We were however reminded of the volatile past between these 2 countries, one day while walking around Tehran near the area where the previous U.S embassy was located (today both countries don’t have an embassy in either’s territory). The building today is (perhaps aptly) called ‘The US den of espionage’, as this is where the CIA led an infamous coupe in 1953 against the then democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh who was trying to nationalize the oil of Iran in order to keep the money within the country than in the pockets of the western super powers. You can read about this rather revealing story about politics and western interest in Iran here.

Does the KTC restaurant in Tabriz remind you of something?

Does the KTC restaurant in Tabriz remind you of something?

 

Graffiti from the time of the '79 revolution showing the Statue of Liberty with a skull

Graffiti from the time of the '79 revolution showing the Statue of Liberty with a skull

 

The building unfortunately is no longer open to outsiders; though we did manage to have a look at some of the graffiti that adorns the outside walls, some of them more than 30 years old. Our visit also coincided with 13 ABAN (otherwise known as 4th November in the global calendar), a day that the Iranian government proudly recalls as the day the embassy was taken hostage by Islamist students just after the 1979 revolution, and the whole hostage crisis lasted over an entire year – 444 days to be exact! It was this anniversary that the government was preparing to celebrate and for the occasion was putting up some new anti-America posters which we managed to catch a quick glimpse of. Oddly though none of the local citizens even gave it a second glance, some wearily remarked that every year the government tries to create a whole hullabaloo about nothing and gets students from various universities to compulsorily attend this event and chant out slogans against the United States, though in reality most of them couldn’t care less.

Posters being put up outside the former embassy on 4th November

Posters being put up outside the former embassy on 4th November

 

I must stress here that though these images seem quite spiteful towards the States, the large majority of people’s opinion (from our experience) is far from same. We even heard some young Iranian students joking with other tourists that if America ever attacked Iran they would probably side with the opposition.

Poster of a burning US flag with Obama depicted below it

Poster of a burning US flag with Obama depicted below it

 

During our one month in Iran we were also watching the news closely as rumors about supposed US or Israel led attacks were making the rounds on the news websites accessed through proxy servers in Iran. When we asked our friend in Iran what he thought about this he nonchalantly remarked ‘The more you shout your threats out loud repeatedly, the less intimidating they become’.

More graffiti on the walls of the former embassy

More graffiti on the walls of the former embassy

 

New poster talking about the anniversary of the hostage crisis

New poster talking about the anniversary of the hostage crisis

 

Anti US posters talking about the Occupy movement

Anti US posters talking about the Occupy movement

 

Anti-Us and Israel posters seen at the Imam Square

Posters seen at the Imam Square at Esfehan

 

Anti US posters at Esfehan

Some of the posters were up to date with the latest Occupy movement

 

New posters seen at the Iman Square in Esfehan

New posters seen at the Iman Square in Esfehan

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 

4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I don’t read much about travelers visiting Iran. It’s definitely interesting to read about what is going on and what the public thinks.

    • Lavanya says:

      Hi Bobbi! Yeah Iran is one of those countries where you get to know the real side to it only when you get there. It’s so different from what you see portrayed in the media and its only a small group of people that share the views expressed by their government. This place sure changes you after a visit! :)

  2. Angela says:

    I’ve had the luck to visit the former US embassy in Tehran, impressive all the machinery they had, also the one to destroy all documents that fortunately have been saved and published in some 90 books about the US headquarter in the Middle East at the time. It’s really not surprising that most people are not exactly US fan, either in Iran and in the rest of the Mideast. I’ve met quite a few Iranians who complained about their government, but never any who wishes an interference from the US, I think they’ve had more than enough..

    • Lavanya says:

      Oh that’s really good! We would’ve loved to visit it too but its closed now unfortunately. Yeah once you get to know the history of the 2 countries’ relations you really understand why they feel this way. Though none of them from who we spoke to wanted any of what’s going on in the news currently. It’s a sad state of affairs.

Leave a Comment Here's Your Chance to Be Heard!