Despite widespread propaganda by the Iranian government to draw out masses for the November 4 government rally held every year to mark the anniversary of the US embassy takeover in 1979, only government supporters and school students, who are forced to participate every year, turned out.
Iranian state media said millions turned out for the government rally in most cities and towns around the country, swearing allegiance to the clerical establishment and its hard line top authority, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
But videos circulating on social media showed school students who were not even willing to chant “death to America”. The voices on the videos said that students were forced to participate adding “death to Khamenei”.
The security atmosphere was also reported as tense while amateur videos showed snipers on rooftops in Tehran and riot police on the streets, in fear that the government rally would turn into protests.
The anti-US march comes a day before sanctions which will hit Iran’s energy and bank sector on November 5.
The restoration of U.S. sanctions on Monday is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Tehran to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programs as well as support for proxy forces in conflicts across the Middle East.
On November 3, a top cleric, Ahmad Alam Alhoda, who represents Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Mashhad, threatened regional countries with an all-out war in case of sanctions.
“If we reach a point that our oil is not exported, the Strait of Hormuz will be mined. Saudi oil tankers will be seized and regional countries will be leveled with Iranian missiles,” he said at Friday’s prayer sermon.
“Qaher missiles along with technology have been provided to the Ansarollah. These are Yom al-Assad systems. When orders are issued from Iran, they’re enough for the Saudis’ Aramco oil facilities, putting all of these facilities out of control,” he added in reference to Houthi militias in Yemen.
“The navy will mine the Strait of Hormuz and protect the mines. Three Saudi oil tankers pass through this strait each day. If necessary, we’ll seize three Saudi ships each day, confiscate the oil and imprison the personnel,” Alam Alhoda continued.
“At first, after seizing these three oil tankers, the joint UAE-Qater oil field and rigs will be closed down by Iran. With just one missile, Qatar’s Wafaq site oil systems will come to a standstill. They will seek to retaliate and attack Iran from the air. Missiles will target six international airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Riyadh, Bahrain and Qatar. All air/shipping lines in the Persian Gulf will be cut off in just 30 minutes with our missiles,” he added.
“The world economy and stock markets, mainly owned by these Arab countries, will cripple. The price of oil will reach $400 a barrel instantly,” Alam Alhoda threatened.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, once again reiterated today that the sanctions would come into effect tomorrow.
“On November 5, we will place tough sanctions on Iran’s ruling regime,” he tweeted stressing that the aim was to compel Iran to abandon its destructive activities” and that sanctions would not target the people, “who have suffered the pain of their government’s mismanagement, theft, and brutality.”