Wednesday, May 22nd 2019

Den of Espionage or what happened to the Embassy of the United States in Tehran

This is not a palace or National Museum, but if you are in Tehran, you might want to see the infamous US Embassy which ceased its operation in 1979 under tragic circumstances. The US diplomatic mission has been defunct since the so called Iranian hostage crisis. Since then it has been occupied by radical Islamist and is used as a training center for Revolutionary Guards. The name currently given to the compound by many Iranians can be translated translated as “espionage den,” “den of espionage”, and “nest of spies”.

You can still see the Great Seal of the United Stated at the main entrance, but it is badly damaged.

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The defaced Great Seal of the United States in 2004

The Iran hostage crisis was a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States in which 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981, after a group of Islamist students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian Revolution.

The Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line demanded that the Shah return to Iran for trial and execution. The U.S. maintained that the Shah, who died less than a year later in July 1980, had come to America only for medical attention. The group’s other demands included that the U.S. government apologize for its interference in the internal affairs of Iran, for the overthrow of Prime Minister Mossadeq (in 1953), and that Iran’s frozen assets in the U.S. be released.

The episode reached a climax when, after failed attempts to negotiate a release, the United States military attempted a rescue operation off the USS Nimitz (an aircraft carrier), Operation Eagle Claw, on April 24, 1980, which resulted in a failed mission, the deaths of eight American servicemen, one Iranian civilian, and the destruction of two aircraft.

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Later The Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line published documents seized in the embassy (including painstakingly reconstructed shredded documents) in a series of books called “Documents from the US Espionage Den”. These books included telegrams, correspondence, and reports from the United States Department of State and Central Intelligence Agency, some of which remain classified to this day.

Den of Espionage - Embassy of the United States, Tehran 02

Now the building is still in the hands of Islamist groups and i was warned to be careful with taking pictures. But cameras are either missing or look non-operational. The walls of the compound are covered with anti-American paintings, supposedly commissioned by the Iranian government.

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Den of Espionage - Embassy of the United States, Tehran 03

Besides these murals the walls bear images of Iranian warrior-martyrs and ‘s romantic image with flowers on the background of the Iranian flag. Interestingly that this image is pretty shitted on by birds, but actually nobody seems to  care of cleaning it. Maybe it is not that important in the end.

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We did not go insides as the guards were unwilling to let us in. So we walked around the whole compound. It looks pretty not taken care of, especially the backside walls. Along the back walls there are huge warehouses or hangars which can easily accommodate helicopters or tanks, maybe even mid-range missiles. I am sure there are huge underground areas which could add some spice to the story of American Embassy in Iran. A old man we had lunch with told us that the Americans organized all this themselves. Considering the history of false flag operations organized I would not be surprised that the Islamist students were paid by US taxpayers money. But this is already history while we are having another American-Iranian crisis going these days.

The place is not a super attraction, but if you around Ferdowsi sq. or visiting the Iranian Art Center it will take 20 minutes to see this infamous embassy.

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