Iran marks anniversary of failed US rescue attempt
Associated Press / Ali Akbar Dareini

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 hardline Iranians, many of them members of the paramilitary Basij volunteers, gathered at the crash site, some 370 miles (600 kilometers) southeast of Tehran, to celebrate the failed rescue.

Hardline 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 officials, 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."

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