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AFP
February 12, 2019

Huge crowds mark 40’th anniversary of Iran revolution

World

AFP
February 12, 2019

TEHRAN: Iran’s president on Monday insisted "enemy" plots against the country would fail as vast crowds marked 40 years since the Islamic revolution at a time of heightened tensions with the United States.

"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 thronging Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) square, decrying a "conspiracy" involving Washington.

Chador-clad women, militia members in camouflage fatigues and ordinary citizens marched through the capital in freezing rain to commemorate the day in February 1979 that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ended millenia of royal rule. The routes leading up to the square were packed with people as loudspeakers blared revolutionary anthems and slogans.

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

Rouhani lambasted calls from Washington and Europe for a fresh agreement to curb Iran’s missile programme. "We have not, and will not request permission from anyone for increasing our defensive power and for building all kinds of... missiles," he told the crowd.

Speaking from a flower-festooned stage overlooking the square the president warned that Iran was now far stronger than when it faced off against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in a devastating conflict from 1980-88.

"Today the whole world should know that the Islamic Republic of Iran is considerably more powerful than the days of the war," Rouhani said. A pre-prepared resolution was read out ahead of his speech that proclaimed "unquestioning obedience to the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei" and called US President Donald Trump an "idiot".

The events Monday were the culmination of official celebrations called the "10 Day Dawn" that mark the period between February 1, 1979 and February 11 when Shiite cleric Khomeini retuned from exile and ousted the shah’s last government. Despite the official festivities today’s Islamic republic faces acute economic challenges as it struggles with a mix of domestic hardships and US sanctions.

State television offered blanket coverage of the commemorations, showing marches in cities ranging from Abadan in southwestern Iran to Mashad in the northeast. Banners held by marchers or hung along the streets bore slogans including "Death to America", "Death to Israel", "we will trample on America", "forty yeas of challenge, forty years of US defeats".

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