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Iranians Mark Anniversary Of U.S. Embassy Takeover

Hostages and their captors at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 (AFP) 2 November 2005 -- Thousands of Iranians chanting "Death to America" marched past the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran today to mark the 26th anniversary of the building's takeover after the Islamic Revolution.

Fifty-two Americans were held captive inside the compound for 444 days -- a drama that led to the severing of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The 1979 takeover is marked every year by the Iranian government, with students given a day off from school so they can participate in the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, witnesses said a small explosive device went off outside the offices of British Airways and British Petroleum in Tehran today. There was minor property damage but no injuries. No one has claimed responsibility.

Relations between Britain and Iran have deteriorated in recent weeks, with the two countries accusing each other of meddling in internal affairs.