The entire region of the Persian Gulf had been influenced
by the Iranian revolution… A group of people in Pakistan set our embassy
there on fire, while an American sergeant lost his life there, he
The report of the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran by a number of students who considered themselves the followers of Imam Khomeini was so startling that it went beyond news headlines in a few hours to turn into a model for freedom seeking movements around the world.
The move not only wiped the footprint of imperialism from the Iranian soil, it triggered an Islamic awakening which included many anti-imperialist movements among the Muslims of the world. This proves that the dimensions of the siege of the spy den go beyond the Iranian border.
Judy Powel had told Carter and Hamilton Jordan that the problem was not to free the hostages, but to cope with the message of the hostage taking and how other countries could follow the move. Even if the hostages come home today our problems will not be diminished, she had said.
The deluge of letters sent to various Islamic organizations around the world to the Iranian leader and nation showed how much the seizure of the embassy had influenced the mindset of and awakened the Islamic community.
Among these letters are the statements by 16 well known freedom seeking Islamic organizations which had expressed support for the Islamic revolution.
One of the quickest statements came a day after the seizure by the Society of Pakistan’s Muslim Students, who not only expressed sympathy with Iran, but warned the US to stop its vile and populist moves.
After that, the Muslim Students of Islamic And Arabs in the USSR said in a letter that "All the Muslim nation which fights imperialism and reactionary Zionism are one heart with the holy ideals of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
This did not end there, but went beyond the African borders to reach the campaigns of the National Congress of South Africa against the apartheid system.
The heads of the congress in a statement said, "We would like to ask the forward going, democratic, and anti-imperialist people of all the world to be vigilant and act in unison to set blank the agendas of the international imperialism, as overseen by the American imperialism, which tries to represent an altered image of the achievements of the Islamic revolution.”
As the rapport of the seizure resonated, activists in other countries took the lead to fight the imperialism, some of them staging protests on front of US embassies, and some going further to do as their Iranian friends did in capturing the grounds.
Only one day after the seizure, Muslims in New York angrily protested toward the hospital which lodged dictator Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. They strongly demanded the White House to extradite the shah to Iran to face the court for his crimes.
Elsewhere, seven Muslims, among whom a black US citizen, tied themselves to the Statue of Liberty in an act of protest, which was met by response from the police.
Ayatollah Mahalati says that at 12:00 in the Masjid ul-Haram, house of God in Mecca, many of the pilgrims from other countries made a congregation during which they made speeches and shouted slogans in support of the Iranian leader.
As another witness to the Islamic awakening, the students of the American school in Beirut cancelled their classes to march to the US embassy in Lebanon. The United Press reported that the students managed to seize the embassy in a matter of hours.
However, they later left the premises as they faced resistance from security forces at the embassy.
Some days later, a number of non-Iranian Muslim students in Spain gathered outside the Iranian embassy to shout their support of the Iranian students’ act of seizing the US embassy.
Some days after that, the people of Pakistan who had been engrossed by America’s imperialist policies and interference, stormed and torched the US embassy.
The AFP then reported that big explosions had been heard from inside the embassy and that all night flames and smoke were rising from the building, symbolizing the rage of the Pakistani people with the United States.
The fire turned the embassy into a pile of ash, after which all the embassy staff took refuge in the UK embassy. A little while later a US cultural center in the country as well as an American school and two consulates were also attacked.
In Kuwait also protestors set on fire the US flag as well as representations of Carter before the US embassy, also expressing support for the Iranian students.
Nonetheless, in Tripoli people torched the US embassy. According to the Associated Press, 2,000 Libyan protestors attacked the US embassy, broke the gate, stormed the buildings and set them on fire. Also, protestors who were shouting slogans against the US and Mohammad Reza Shah, expressed support for the Iranian students who had seized the US embassy.
The anti-imperialist movements of Muslim nations that followed the Iranian students’ seizure of the US embassy in Tehran showed that the Islamic revolution and the seizure had caused an awakening among Muslim nations of the world.
The Algerian ambassador to Tehran during those days said: After the Iranian revolution, the nations of some countries have awakened and toppled their arrogant governments, such as in Uganda, Central Africa, and Nicaragua.
Thus, it can be confidently stated that the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran precipitated the fall of the American imperialism, showing the world how one can stand against an oppressive world power.
It was fitting that al-Thourah newspaper, based in Damascus, then called the embassy seizure as a start for awakening in oppressed countries.