Iran: Islamic revolution’s 40th anniversary commemorated, crowds chant ‘Death to America’

In a speech at Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) square, Rouhani said U.S. efforts to isolate Iran would fail.

The events Monday were the culmination of official celebrations called the "10 Day Dawn" that marks the period between February 1, 1979 and February 11 when Shiite cleric Khomeini retuned from exile and ousted the shah´s last government.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned United States flags to mark the revolution's 40th anniversary on Monday as Tehran showed off ballistic missiles in defiance of United States efforts to curb its military power.

The large turnout in state-sponsored rallies came as Iranians face mounting economic hardships following the return of U.S. sanctions a year ago.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Revolutionary Guards deputy head, said Tehran would not withdraw forces from the region, dismissing USA calls for Iranian clout to be curbed.

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".

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.

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

Trump also reestablished US economic sanctions against Iran. He told Iranians that the Shah cared mostly about rich people and let the country's secret police carry out abuses.

Another Iranian official warned that his country would destroy cities in Israel if the United States attacked Iran. "But if they attack us, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground", Brig. 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 and Haifa, it will not succeed, but it will be the last Revolution Day that they will celebrate".

"I don't ignore the threats from the Iranian regime, but I'm also not intimidated by them", Netanyahu said in a Hebrew-language video. "They should take this into account".

In the backdrop to Monday's marches, the military displayed Iranian-made missiles, which authorities showcase every year during anniversary celebrations and which now have a range of up to 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) and are able to Israel and USA military bases in the region.

Iran also has vast clout in Iraq, where Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the overseas arm of the Revolutionary Guards, was frequently photographed guiding Shi'ite militias in the war against Sunni Islamic State militants.

Vanessa Coleman

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