Iran Marks 40th Anniversary of Revolution

REUTERS  Raheb Homavandi  File

REUTERS Raheb Homavandi File

Iranians thronged streets across the country, many with portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shiite cleric who toppled the Shah in the historic Islamic uprising.

On Feb. 11, 1979 Iran's army declared its neutrality, paving the way for the fall of US -backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

State TV showed crowds braving the snow, shouting "Death to Israel, Death to America", with some protesters burning American flags.

Iran displayed its ballistic missile capabilities during a parade, including the Zolfaqar, a ground-to-ground missile with a 700 km (435 miles) range and the Qiam, with a range of 800 km, according to Tasnim news agency.

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". Trump also reestablished US economic sanctions against Iran.

The hardliners, who believe in the strict implementation of laws from 40 years ago, continuously clash with the reformists, who are pushing for more economic transparency. 40 years of repression. 40 years of terror. The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure.

"The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future", the American president added.

In Washington, US National Security adviser John Bolton, who in 2017 expressed the hope that Iran's "revolution will not reach its 40th birthday", tweeted that after 40 years, the "Islamic Republic of Iran has failed to fulfil its promises to uphold and safeguard the rights of its citizens". "But it does not mean we support corruption of some officials and their betrayal of the oppressed people".

Last year, the government suppressed protests over poor living conditions in over 80 cities and towns.

The Trump administration has pushed hard to weaken Iran and what it says is Tehran's "destabilizing" influence. "The enemies are now confessing to their defeat", said Rouhani.

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Iranians march towards Azadi Square during Monday's rally.

He said, "We will not let America become victorious.Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties but we will overcome the problems by helping each other".

"The United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military assets".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back on Monday night after Iran threatened "to 'raze Tel Aviv and Haifa" to the ground, saying that if Tehran attacks Israel, it will be the last anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that they celebrate.

Despite Iran's efforts to hide the facility, Israel has nevertheless discovered, tracked and uncovered it, the network said, as part of its effort to thwart Iran's military entrenchment in Syria.

"If this regime makes the mistake of threatening us and tries to destroy Tel Aviv or Haifa, they won't succeed, and it will be the last anniversary of the revolution that they celebrate. They would do well to take that into account".

Citing leaked Iranian Judiciary documents, the Paris-based media watchdog also said that the authorities had arrested, imprisoned, or executed at least 860 journalists in the three decades between the 1979 revolution and 2009.

Today, Iran enjoys influence through proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, raising concerns in Sunni Saudi Arabia, which accuses its rival of trying to dominate the Middle East. Tehran denies the allegations.

Yadollah Javani is the Revolutionary Guards' assistant head for political affairs.

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