In a gesture likely to provoke fury among hardliners in the Tehran regime, they will apologise on Wednesday for the hostage crisis that gripped the world for 444 days and led to a decisive break between Iran and the US, which is now routinely denounced as “the Great Satan”.
Organisers of the Green Movement, the umbrella group that seeks to overturn the official result of the June presidential election, plan to use the official commemoration of the take over to make a fresh assault on the revolutionary credentials of Iran’s leadership.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an exiled film-maker who spearheads the opposition campaign overseas, said Iranians should repudiate the events of 1979, when a group of pro-regime agitators took over the US embassy and held diplomats and other occupants.
“Thirty years ago in the turmoil of the revolutionary zeal an indefensible act of hostage taking was committed that the new generation of Iran are not proud of at all,” he said. “We know very well how that deplorable action hurt the noble American people and how it led to three decades of unnecessary and painful bad relations between our two nations.
“Only a small and repressive minority who rule Iran today still insist on keeping Iran on a confrontation course with the US, Britain and the West and indeed they have now taken the Iranian people as hostage to their destructive policies.”