Raisi says Iran was ‘freed 43 years ago’ as country marks anniversary of US embassy siege

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi on Friday said the country was "freed 43 years ago" and will not be a "milking cow" of Western powers in response to US President Joe Biden's vow to "free" Iran.

Speaking at a public rally in Tehran to mark the 43rd anniversary of the siege of the US embassy in the Iranian capital, Raisi said Biden's remarks were "because of his distraction."

"I am telling Biden that Iran was freed 43 years ago and is determined not to be your captive. We will never be your milking cow," Raisi said.

Speaking at a campaign rally for Democratic Rep. Mike Levin in San Diego on Thursday, Biden said Iran would soon be “freed," without elaborating further.

“Don’t worry, we’re going to free Iran," he was quoted as saying. “They’re going to free themselves pretty soon.”

Iran has been rocked by widespread protests in recent weeks following the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, in police custody in mid-September.

Amini died in mysterious circumstances after being detained by the country's morality police for wearing "inappropriate dress." While authorities denied foul play, her family alleges she was beaten in police custody that resulted in her death.

The tragic incident was condemned by many Western governments, including the US, which imposed fresh human rights-related sanctions on several Iranian government officials and entities.

The protests, albeit less in scale and size now, continue in many Iranian cities. On Thursday night, a policeman identified as Hamid Pornorooz, 40, was killed by protesters in the northern city of Gilan.

Earlier in the day, three people were killed in Karaj, west of Iran’s capital Tehran, including one policeman and one seminary student, according to state media.

In a separate incident on Thursday, a prominent cleric Sajjad Shahruki was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the southeastern city of Zahedan, a city bordering Pakistan that has seen pitched battles between protesters and police since September.

Iranian authorities, including President Raisi, have blamed the incidents on "foreign-backed rioters," pinning blame directly on the US and Israel for "instigating riots."

On Friday, following a call by the government, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Tehran and other Iranian cities, raising anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans.

The occasion was the anniversary of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979, to protest the US administration's decision to welcome the deposed Iranian monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Around 66 Americans were taken hostage by angry students, of which 52 remained in Iranian captivity for 14 months, which caused an irreparable rupture in bilateral relations.

In his speech, Raisi said the "enemy" has targeted Iran's "national unity, security, peace," adding that those "who support chaos and destabilization in Iran" are supporting "US schemes" in the country.

"America plays the leading role in wars and bloodshed and destroys the interests of nations to secure its own interests," Raisi said, referring to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ongoing unrest in Iran has heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington, with the Biden administration criticizing the Iranian authorities and imposing fresh sanctions while the Raisi government accusing the US and its allies of "instigating riots."

The fate of the 2015 nuclear deal also hangs in balance with experts believing that efforts to revive the deal through talks in Vienna have been pushed to the back burner.

Source: Anadolu Agency