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Rouhani: Iran to continue expanding military might, missile work

12 February, 2019, 05:40 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini speaks from a balcony in Tehran during Iran's revolution in February 1979

Iranians celebrated the 1979 overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was supported by the USA, "waving Iranian flags, chanting "Death to America" and burning US and Israeli flags", reported The Associated Press.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians held nation-wide rallies on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the fall of the Shah and the triumph of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi'ite cleric who led an Islamic Revolution that rattles the West to this day. "Now it´s up to the Iranian regime to change its behavior, & ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine the direction of their country", John Bolton tweeted.

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 came as Iranians face mounting economic hardships following the return of USA sanctions previous year.

This year's celebrations come amid heightened tensions with the United States, which last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers and reimposed tough sanctions on the Iranian economy.

The festivities to mark the Iranian Revolution start every year on February 1, the day that Khomeini returned from exile to become supreme leader of the Islamic republic.

"The presence of people today on the streets all over Islamic Iran... means that the enemy will never reach its evil objectives", President Hassan Rouhani told those crowding into Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) square.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers previous year and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran - dealing a blow to the country's economy.

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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.

But despite the official festivities today's Islamic republic faces acute economic challenges as it struggles with a mix of domestic hardships and U.S. sanctions.

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

A senior commander in Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps threatened on Monday to destroy two of Israeli's largest cities if the country is attacked by the United States. One had the face of Trump and the other the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"If this regime makes the awful mistake and tries to destroy Tel Aviv or Haifa, it won't be successful and it will be the last anniversary of their revolution they will ever celebrate". "I am not ignoring the threats of the Iranian regime, but nor I am impressed by them", he said.

Washington and its Arab allies have viewed Iran with great suspicion since the Islamic Revolution, fearing Khomeini's radical ideology would inspire militants across the Middle East.

A senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Tehran would not withdraw forces from the region, dismissing US calls for Iranian clout to be curbed.

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