US Den of Espionage

Museum in Tehran

The former US embassy was the focal point of the 1979 revolution, when it was stormed by students who then held 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days. Today the compound is occupied by the Student Basij Organisation dedicated to defending the revolution. It's a fascinating place to visit: the front grounds (now called the 'Museum Garden of Anti Arrogance') are plastered with colourful anti-Western propaganda posters. Part of the chancery is a museum, highlighting the spying which went on there.

This is where the 1953 coup that brought down Mohammad Mossadegh was orchestrated, and from where the last shah was supported. Anti-US and Israel, and pro-Islam murals and displays decorate the corridors and former offices. Waxwork dummies are posed in the 'glassy room' where top-secret meetings were held. Step back in time as you view the antiquated telex machines, computers and shredders used by the embassy staff in vault-like rooms.