The annual demonstrations marking the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in 1979 were held in Tehran on Tuesday November 4 with no government officials in attendance.

Demonstrators reportedly chanted slogans against the U.S., Israel and Britain and burned their respective flags.

The Associated Press reports that although thousands attended the demonstrations, the number of demonstrators was evidently much lower than last year. The media interpreted the decline in the number of demonstrators as marking a thaw in Iran-U.S. relations since the new administration took power last August.

ISNA reported, however, that the chief speaker at the events, Alireza Panahian, urged the Rohani administration and the negotiating team to maintain a firm stance during negotiations with the United States.

“Now the arrogant powers are on the verge of collapse,” Panahian said, addressing the administration; “It is your duty not to shake hands with the dying enemy.”

Iran is negotiating with the world powers over its nuclear program. It has also held some direct talks with U.S. officials on the specific mechanism of lifting international sanctions and other issues.

The Rohani administration has faced serious criticism at home for choosing to hold direct talks with the U.S. Iran has had no official diplomatic relations with the U.S. since the 1979 hostage-taking crisis.