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Iran marks anniversary of U.S. Embassy crisis

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Thursday is the 31st anniversary of the embassy takeover
  • Thousands of students are demonstrating in front of the building
  • They are waving flags and chanting slogans against America

Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iranians across the country Thursday were marking the 31st anniversary of the hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy.

Thousands of students gathered in front of the former embassy building in Tehran, shouting slogans against the United States and Israel, state-run Press TV reported.

They waved Iranian flags and carried colorful banners through the streets. They also chanted and burned effigies.

Iran celebrates the embassy takeover each year as an official holiday. Tens of thousands turned out to mark the anniversary last year.

On November 4, 1979, Islamic students stormed the embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

The takeover changed the relationship between the United States and Iran.

"This event helped set the United States and Iran on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust and confrontation," U.S. President Barack Obama said last year.