Iran marks 40 years since 1979 revolution

Blanche Robertson
February 12, 2019

Celebrations culminated in Iran on Monday for the February 1-11 period in 1979 when the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile and ousted the pro-Western shah.

Soldiers, students, clerics and black-clad women holding small children, flocked to the streets of cities and towns, many carrying portraits of Khomeini and Iran's current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Life-size replicas of Iranian-made cruise and ballistic missiles stood in a statement of defiance after the U.S. a year ago reimposed sanctions following its withdrawal from a deal on Tehran´s nuclear programme.

Javani, the deputy for the IRGC political bureau, was speaking at a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, when the US-backed monarchy was overthrown and replaced in power by Islamic fundamentalists.

The large turnout in state-sponsored rallies, in which US and Israeli flags were burned, came as Iranians face mounting economic hardships many blame on the country's clerical leaders.

Iranians march towards Azadi (Freedom) Square during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of Islamic Revolution in the capital Tehran on February 11, 2019.

Earlier at the anniversary celebrations, Iran's president Hassan Rouhani told crowds on Monday that Iran was committed to a path that will see the country expand its "military power".

Last year, Iran cracked down on protests over poor living standards that posed the most serious challenge to its clerical elite since a 2009 uprising over disputed elections.

This year's anniversary comes as tensions rise with the United States and Iran grapples with the aftermath of President Donald Trump's pullout last May from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and tough US economic sanctions, re-imposed in November.

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In his address on Tehran's Azadi Square, Rohani said the "enemy will never reach its evil objectives", vowing that Iran will defeat USA sanctions.

Iranian officials said the move amounted to "economic warfare".

"The Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties but we will overcome the problems by helping each other", he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the threat.

"If this regime makes the terrible mistake of trying to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, it will not succeed", he said. "They should take that into account", Netanyahu said, as reported by Haaretz.

"The world saw when Iran made a decision to help people of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen, they achieved victory".

Mr Bolton said Washington would support "the will of the Iranian people, & stand behind them to ensure their voices are heard".

Dismissing calls that Iranian regional influence should be curbed, the deputy commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was quoted as saying on February 11 that "the enemy can not ask us to leave the region".

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