DUBAI Oct 27 Tehran city officials have ordered
the removal of some posters featuring anti-American slogans, a
sign that Iran is seeking better relations with the United
States as the two sides hold talks over its nuclear programme.
A Tehran municipal official said some anti-American
billboards had been put up illegally and that the city had taken
them down, state news agency IRNA said on Saturday.
"In an arbitrary move, without the knowledge or confirmation
of the municipality, one of the cultural institutes installed
advertising billboards," said Hadi Ayyazi, spokesman for the
municipality, according to IRNA.
Ayyazi did not specify which posters had been taken down.
According to IRNA, new anti-American posters questioning U.S.
honesty had been put up in busy Tehran thoroughfares since last
week, ahead of the Nov. 4 anniversary of the taking of hostages
in the U.S. Embassy in 1979.
One such poster depicted an Iranian negotiator sitting at a
table with a U.S. official who is wearing a suit jacket but also
army trousers and boots, with a caption that reads, "American
The banners implied that the real U.S. goal in negotiations
is to attack Iran rather than find a diplomatic solution to the
dispute over its nuclear programme.
It is unclear who was behind the posters, but hard-liners
have expressed scepticism of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's
efforts to engage with the West and the United States.
Anti-American graffiti and posters in prominent areas of
Tehran and other major Iranian cities are common. The site of
the former U.S. embassy in Tehran, for instance, depicts the
Statue of Liberty with a skull for a face.
The city's move sparked protest from some hard-liners,
including the influential conservative Kayhan newspaper, which
criticised the decision in a Sunday editorial.
"Obviously, the posters only warned of America's
dishonesty," the editorial said. "Therefore, their removal is
unjustifiable for the people whose blood has been shed and who
have suffered the bitter taste of America's hostility for more
than 30 years."
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Jon Hemming and Jane