By Associated Press
Scores gather in Tehran to mark one of the most infamous hostage situations in modern times. Crowd chants 'death to America,' 'death to Israel'; banner slams Obama as 'loyal dog of Israel'
As Iranians marked the 33rd anniversary of the seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran with a rally outside the former mission building Friday, an Iranian commander offered a pot of gold and set impossible conditions for restoring ties with the "Great Satan."
However, General Mohammad Reza Naqdi of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, insisted his offer of 10 kilograms of gold to anyone who found a "regime more criminal than the United States" would go unclaimed – allegedly because his troops "have already done the research and found Washington is the worst on earth."
Naqdi spoke as thousands of Iranian students rallied outside what was once the US Embassy. The crowd chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" and burned US and Israeli flags.
The rally is an annual event to mark the November 4, 1979 storming of the embassy by militant students who held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days to protest America's refusal to hand over the toppled Iranian shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi back to the country for trial.
Washington severed relations with Tehran after the embassy takeover, and they have not been restored since.
At Friday's rally in Tehran, students brandished an effigy of President Barack Obama and distributed pamphlets denouncing America and the sanctions.
One banner called Obama a "loyal dog" of Israel, with a caricature showing the US president with a metal chain around his neck linked to an Israeli flag.
'Death to America.' Teenage protesters (Photo: AP)
The former embassy is now painted with anti-American murals and used as a training site for Guard troops.
Naqdi, who commands the Guard's paramilitary branch known as the Basij, set his own "conditions" for resumption of diplomatic relations with the US in a speech to the crowd.
The US, he said, must abolish the CIA, pull out its warships from the Persian Gulf and dismantle its military bases in 50 countries around the world if it wants to restore ties with Tehran.
"They (the US) must prove they've grown into sensible human beings and stop supporting the usurper Zionist regime," said Naqdi, expanding on his list of conditions.
A statement released by the organizers of the event said the US will remain Iran's "No. 1 enemy and the Great Satan," a term commonly used by Tehran to vilify Washington.