Published: Tue, February 12, 2019

Massive crowds mark 40th anniversary of Iran revolution

Massive crowds mark 40th anniversary of Iran revolution

Iranians burn Israeli flags during commemorations in the capital Tehran of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on February 11, 2019.

State television showed crowds defying cold rainy weather and carrying Iranian flags while shouting "Death to Israel, Death to America" - trademark chants of the revolution.

On Feb 11, 1979, Iran's army declared its neutrality, paving the way for the collapse of the USA -backed monarch, the United States' closest ally in the Middle East.

Despite mounting global pressure over the country's missile program, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to continue to push the development of such weapons.

Crowds chanted "Death to America, death to Israel" as hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered at rallies to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

'We have not asked and will not ask for permission to develop different types of. missiles and will continue our path and our military power, ' Rouhani said.

"The US should know that we would raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground in the event of a military attack on us", General Yadollah Javani, head of the guard's political bureau, was quoted as saying.

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

Speaking from a flower-festooned stage overlooking the square, the president said: "Today the whole world should know that the Islamic Republic of Iran is considerably more powerful than the days of the war".

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.

Pictures on social media showed some people also demonstrating against corruption, unemployment and high prices. One had the face of Trump and the other the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Imam Khomeini had lived many years in exile, in Iraq and France, before returning home and leading a historical revolution that overthrew Pahlavi regime.

"If this regime makes the bad 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".

Before the fireworks, supporters of the revolution shouted chants of "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) from rooftops, recalling the protests that swept Khomeini to power four decades earlier.

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". However, analysts say Iran's push to back militants in the wider Mideast and Saudi Arabia's efforts to mobilize the Sunni world against the Shiite power would turn many away.

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