Friday Prayers across Iran: Anniversary of US’ embassy occupation, American presidential elections and Lebanon
(Mohammad-Ali Movahhedi Kermani performed Tehran’s Friday prayers this week. Arash Mirsepasi/YJC)
Friday prayers of this week were held one day after the 13th of Aban, November 4th, anniversary, the day that Islamist revolutionary students occupied the US embassy in central Tehran and held 53 of the staff captives for 444 days. Sermonizers across Iran justified the move, calling it a necessary measure to protect the Iranian Revolution from Washington’s intervention. Reviewing the history of Washington’s conspiracies against Tehran, they criticized voices inside Iran calling for rapprochement with the United States.
“We should be watchful lest that Americans return to Iran” said Tehran’s Friday prayers’ leader Mohammad-Ali Movahhedi Kermani. “We should not forget this enmity even for one moment.” In Mashhad, ultraconservative sermonizer Ahmad Alamolhoda spoke in length about the 1979 occupation of the US embassy, the “Den of Espionage” in revolutionary jargon. “This move shattered United States’ grandeur. Until then, United States was the primary superpower of the world and no one dared to speak against Imperialism. But our youth seized American diplomats and this was the first slap on United States’ face since the WWII.” Mashhad Friday prayers’ sermonizer also argued that seizure of the embassy stopped recurrence of another coup –just as the one carried out in 1953- and the return of the Shah.
“Our hostility towards the US is rooted in history” said Mohsen Mojtahed-Shabestari, Friday prayers’ leader of Tabriz. “This mischievous regime [of the United States] has its hands in Muslims’ blood before and after the revolution.” Meanwhile in Zanjan, northwest of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khatami called the occupation of United States’ embassy in Iran a “logical reaction” towards United States’ crimes in the country.
Sermonizers also touched on US election. In Mashhad, Ahmad Alamolhoda said that “debates between presidential candidates clearly reflect the domestic state of the United States … Trump believes the US is moving towards annihilation and Clinton says this election is the only chance to save democracy in the United States”. In Gorgan, Ayatollah Seyyed Kazem Nourmofidi cast doubt on claims that the United States is a progressive country. “These electoral debates proved that United States’ domestic issues are different than what they appear to be. Electoral debates between presidential candidates where obscene and revealed United States’ internal problems … they even talk about moral scandals, which shows the US has become hollow from within.” Also in Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, Abdolkarim Abedini, leader of the city’s Friday prayers, said that in their debates, “Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump exposed the US’ government as much as possible, and showed the world the depth of corruption and filth” in the country.
Sermonizers across Iran also hailed election of a new president in Lebanon after more than two years. In Gorgan, northeast of the country, Kazem Nourmofidi said that election of Michel Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, showed that the Shia group cannot be sidelined in Lebanese politics, despite attempts by countries such as Saudi Arabia. In Ardabil, Seyyed Hassan Ameli called Aoun’s presidency a boost to the regional standing of Iran and the ‘Resistance Front’, while in Tabriz, Mohsen Mojtahed-Shabestari called Aoun’s presidency against the desire of Saudi Arabia and Israel who did not want a president that backed Resistance and the Palestinians.