Iran Marks Ashura and the Takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall - On Nov. 3, Iran marked the Ashura, when Shiites all over the world mourn the martyrdom of Hussein bin Ali, the Third Imam of the Shiite faith, in the Battle of Karbala [in today's Iraq] in the year 680. On Nov. 4, Iran observed the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Demonstrators chanted and carried banners proclaiming, "Death to America," "Death to Israel," and "Death to Britain," and flags of these countries were burned. The death of Imam Hussein in Karbala some 1300 years ago remains a formative factor for Shiites and underlies the tenets of sacrifice and martyrdom. Iran's drive for regional and Islamic hegemony backed by nuclear weapons is largely aimed at rectifying the historical injustice caused to the Prophet's family members at the dawn of Islam and by the West's "arrogance" toward the Muslim world. Over the next 40 days thousands of Shiites from all over the world will make their way to the Imam Hussein Shrine in Karbala. Last year, two million faithful made the pilgrimage. The conquest of parts of Iraq by the Islamic State, along with the intensification of the Sunni-Shiite struggle, are likely to make this journey to Karbala by Shiites from various parts of Iraq (and the Shiite world) into a bloody affair.

2014-11-07 00:00:00

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