Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images
Photos: 34 Years of Anti-American Propaganda in Iran
Art Diplomacy

Photos: 34 Years of Anti-American Propaganda in Iran Is It Curtains for Street Art Attacking the Great Satan?

By Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

News broke this week that Tehran’s municipal government had ordered the removal of some anti-U.S. billboards in the Iranian capital. The posters, which appear to criticize government nuclear negotiations with Washington, carry the slogan, “The U.S. Government Styles Honesty,” and feature an American and Iranian official at the negotiating table, with the American hiding an attack dog beneath the table.

Municipal officials, naturally, said the billboards were put up illegally and therefore removed. But as the move comes at a time of unprecedented diplomatic gestures from newly elected leader Hassan Rouhani and just ahead of the November 4 anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in 1979which Iranians typically commemorate with anti-American protestsobservers suspect there’s more to the order than just some city bureaucratic muscle-flexing.

Hardliners are vowing to resurrect the billboards by next month. But if Iran is really turning away from billboards baiting the Great Satan, it marks the end of a long, illustrious run of streetscape propaganda.

Here’s a sampling of 34 years of Tehran’s most memorable anti-American art. 

 


Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images
A woman walks past an anti-American mural of the Statue of Liberty on the wall of the former US embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4 2009.
 

Majid Saeed/AFP/Getty Images
A mural of the American flag in the form of a gun outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 2004.
 

Majid Saeed/AFP/Getty Images
A mural outside the U.S. embassy depicts a fist crushing the American flag and the White House on Nov. 4, 2004.
 

Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images
Iranian policemen stand guard during a rally commemorating the 31st anniversary of the storming of the U.S. embassy on Nov. 4, 2010.
 

Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images
Iranians walk past an anti-US mural of the White House and the American flag outside the U.S. embassy on January 20, 2009.
 

AFP/Getty Images
An Iranian student chalks an anti-US Uncle Sam on the former U.S. embassy in Tehran during an annual demonstration to celebrate the seizure of the US embassy in 1979 by Iranian students on Nov. 3, 2008.
 

Majid Saeed/AFP/Getty Images
Iranian women gather on Nov. 3, 2004 to celebrate the anniversary of the storming of the U.S. embassy in front of a mural depicting the historic event.
 

Flickr
A mural of the American flag featuring skulls and missiles instead of stars and stripes. 
 

AFP/Getty Images
Anti-American art outside the U.S. embassy on November 20, 1979.
 

Getty Images
A man paints a Satan version of Uncle Sam outside the former U.S. embassy on Nov. 4, 2001. Thousands gathered outside the former embassy to commemorate the 1979 takeover of the “den of spies” by student militants.
 

Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images
Iranians walk over a makeshift U.S. flag in Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) square in April 25, 2010 to mark the 30th anniversary of the failed US mission to release American hostages following the 1979 revolution.
 
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