TEHRAN, Iran -- Since Iran's Islamic Revolution 33 years ago, the walls and buildings of major cities have been an open-air gallery to vilify the state's enemies and venerate the defenders of the theocracy.
Government-sponsored murals became a centerpiece of the Islamic establishment's image-building machine: Depicting foes such as the U.S. with images including a skeleton for the Statue of Liberty, and celebrating the battlefield dead from the 1980s war with Iraq as heroic martyrs guaranteed a place in heaven.
The images – particularly in the capital Tehran – were a visual history of Iran's revolution well before state TV and the Internet took over as more far-reaching tools for the Islamic establishment. Some new murals are still commissioned, but it's become a fading expression of Iran's world view.
The images, however, also show how little has changed in Iran's tense relationships with the West and its allies since the revolution overthrew the U.S.-backed shah.
Near the entrance to a busy subway station in Tehran are the brick walls of the former U.S. Embassy – called the "den of spies" – that are covered with anti-American art. The interior walls of the compound are filled with anti-US and pro-Palestinians graffiti.