DASHT-E-KAVIR, Iran – Hundreds of Iranians on Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of a failed U.S. military operation to rescue American hostages in Tehran, with prayers and words of defiance for Washington.
The 1980 rescue attempt – called Operation Eagle Claw – turned into a major embarrassment for the U.S. when an American helicopter collided with a C-130 transport plane at a desert landing spot during a sandstorm. Eight U.S. servicemen were killed.
As in years past, hundreds of hard-line Iranians, many of them members of the paramilitary Basij volunteers, gathered at the crash site, some 370 miles southeast of Tehran, to celebrate the failed rescue.
Hard-line parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani told those gathered, most of whom had been bused to the site, that the failed American mission “humiliated the arrogant” U.S. administration.
Mohammad Reza Fallahzadeh, a senior local official, said the sandstorm that contributed to the accident was a “divine miracle” to protect the newly established Islamic Republic against the United States – “the symbol of evil.”