Embassy of the United States, Tehran

U.S. Embassy seen from Taleghani avenue in 2005
The defaced Great Seal of the United States in 2004

The United States Embassy in Tehran is a building located in Tehran, Iran.



The embassy was designed in 1948 by the architect Ides van der Gracht. It was a long, low two-story brick building, similar to American high schools built in the 1930s and '40s. For this reason, the building was nicknamed "Henderson High" by the embassy staff, referring to Loy W. Henderson, who became America's ambassador to Iran just after construction was completed in 1951.[1]

The US diplomatic mission has been defunct since the Iran hostage crisis of 1979. Since then, the United States government has been represented in Iran by the United States Interests Section of the Embassy of Switzerland in Tehran. The name currently given to the compound by many Iranians is variously translated as "espionage den," "den of espionage", and "nest of spies".[2]

After the fall of the embassy, Revolutionary Guard used it as a training center. The brick walls that form the perimeter (the embassy grounds are the size of a city block) feature a number of anti-American murals commissioned by the government of Iran. The site has also housed a bookstore and a museum (though both are closed to foreigners and the general Iranian public, though exceptions do exist). The Great Seal of the United States is badly damaged but still visible at the entryway.

The Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line published documents seized in the embassy (including painstakingly reconstructed shredded documents) in a series of books called "Documents from the US Espionage Den" (Persian: اسناد لانه جاسوسی امریكا). These books included telegrams, correspondence, and reports from the United States Department of State and Central Intelligence Agency, some of which remain classified to this day.

See also

Portal icon Iran portal
Portal icon Government of the United States portal


  1. ^ The architecture of diplomacy: building America's embassies ADST-DACOR diplomats and diplomacy series. Jane C. Loeffler. Publisher Princeton Architectural Press, 1998. ISBN 1-56898-138-4 pp.56
  2. ^ Federation of American Scientists on the Espionage Den

External links

Coordinates: 35°42′29″N 51°25′27″E / 35.70806°N 51.42417°E / 35.70806; 51.42417

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