Iran Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Islamic Revolution

Minnie Murray
February 13, 2019

Rouhani also vowed Iran would defeat USA sanctions, reimposed after President Donald Trump withdrew from Tehran's nuclear accord with world powers a year ago. Today, the United States, its Arab allies and Israel are trying to counter Tehran's growing influence in the Middle East, where it has proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

State television offered blanket coverage of the commemorations, showing marchers in cities ranging from Abadan in south-western Iran to Mashad in the northeast, all joined in fervent denunciations of both the USA and Israel.

Speaking from a podium in central Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the crowds for almost 45 minutes, lashing out at Iran's enemies - America and Israel - and claiming their efforts to "bring down" Iranians through sanctions will not succeed.

"Much to the dismay of America, the revolution has reached its 40th year", read one banner.

The Jerusalem Post reports that Monday's demonstrations featured hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens - "s$3 oldiers, students, clerics and black-clad women holding small children" alike - and that some burned US flags.

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

He compared the USA sanctions and economic hardships to "riding a bicycle when someone puts a stick in the wheels" but pointed to advances in other fields as more than making up for them.

Later that year, Iranian militants took dozens of people hostage at the US Embassy in Tehran, sparking the first round of sanctions from Washington and causing a lasting rupture in countries' relations. "The enemies are now confessing to their defeat", said Rouhani. The Israeli air force had carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria, targeting Iranian sites to halt Iran's attempts to gain a military foothold in the country.

In Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is the branch of the military responsible for upholding the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He said, "The United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us".

Syria's SANA news agency reported on Monday that Israeli shelling targeted Syrian military positions in Quneitra province.

At a parade to mark the anniversary, Iran showed off its weaponry, including a ground-to-ground missile that can travel a distance of 700 kilometers. Susan Shand adapted the report for VOA Learning English.

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