The handful of American residents who remain here have one thing in common -- a sincere belief that their lives are in no immediate danger despite strident anti-American campaigns.
In fact, the remnants of the once 45,000-strong U.S. community are less afraid of the threat of daily violence af the hands of Iranians than of their fate if the United States intervened militarlily.
Many are married to Iranians and feel safe because of that. Others have spent years in Iran and are confident their Iranian friends will take them in and protect them.
Reque Carson, a Houston native who has spent the last 10 of his 35 years in Tehran teaching school, is convinced Iranians are being especially nice to him, at least in his immediate neighborhood.
"People have been so kind to me, the grocer, the newspaper vendor," Carson said, "I do not feel any tension. I do not feel they do not want me around. They seem embarassed by what is happening. I'm not going to leave just because of a few (hostile) phone calls." But he conceded, "There's always a chance of trouble with so many people running around with guns."
Like other Americans interviewed, Carson has Iranian friends prepared to hide him if serious trouble threatens. "If I had to pack a suitcase it would take a half hour," he said.
The American residents remaining here are split into two distinct groups.
One group takes no public stand on the American-Iranian crisis, whatever its misgivings about American policy over the past quarter century and the current wrangle over the return of the shah and the 50 hostages detained at the U.S. embassy.
The other militates actively in terms scarcely distinguishable from those used by the most radical Iranian leaders.
Many appear to be in their 20s and 30s, and, judging by their rhetoric, veterans of the radical campus politics of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Terry Graham, a convert to Islam who works as a reporter for the English-language Tehran Times, has taken up Iran's cudgels with a fervor worthy of a revolutionary pamphleteer.
Among his favorite targets have been Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman David Rockefeller, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger and fellow journalists judged to be selling out to the U.S. government.
A group claiming 12 members, known as the Committee of Americans in Support of the U.S. Embassy Seizure, held a news conference recently excoriating American policy in Iran over the past quarter century.
Three women, all married to Iranians, told the official Iranian line for the benefit of the world's television cameras.
Margaret Hunter, of Atlanta Ga., said "If the people of the United States are angry about holding hostages, then the fault lies with the media who are not presenting a true picture of the situation."
Mariam Kazemi of New York said the radical Islamic students' occupation of the embassy nearly four weeks ago "seems to me to be very correct and appropriate action." Speaking of the hostages, she said, "If they are not spies they should welcome a public trial."
The nonpolitical Americans tend to reason that they have lived through the worst. That means the end of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's regn, the violent revolution in February and the disorders of the revolution's early months, when guns and violence were much more in evidence than they are today.
For Tat Stewart, 33, pastor of the interdenominational church here, Iranian anti-Americanism is nothing new.
The son of Presbyterian missionaries who worked here and married to a woman of like background, he recalls the anti-American period of nationalist former Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who was over-thrown with Central Intelligence Agency help in 1953.
The Persian-speaking pastor admits to "kind of living on the edge" and dispatched his wife and two small children to England recently. He says he has no martyr complex and does not criticize Americans who leave. "It's not lacking in faith to be wise and discreet," he said.
"The Iranian people are not really down on American people," he said. "It is possible for someone to shout anti-American slogans, go home and invite an American friend over for lunch."
Despite the impact in the United States of the U.S. hostage problem, he said, the United States should not assume that "all Iranians are bitter and fanatics -- we Americans here should be a kind of bridge."
"In the old days you couldn't walk down the without seeing an American in Shermiran," an expensive north Tehran neighborhood, he said. "After the revolution, we Americans became invisible and now Iranians want to talk to us."
Stewart worries that his continued presence here might cause problems for his Iranian Christian friends. They make up the bulk of his flock, aside from a handful of Americans and not more than 50 English-speaking Protestant Japanese, Nigerians, Filippinos and Indians.
However, Iranian Christian "keep telling me 'you're an encouragement for us,"' Stewart said.
Stewart summed up both groups of remaining Americans in describing them as "very committed people who are not here just to make a buck."
He insisted he felt "safer in Tehran than in some parts of New York City . . . there's no fear of being mugged or having your wallet stolen." But he added, that "if anything happens it will happen this week" over Tasua and Ashura, which for Shiites, are the two holiest days in the mourning month of Moharran, and which fall today and Friday.