Iran and Israel trade threats of destruction

Iran and Israel trade threats of destruction

Iran and Israel trade threats of destruction

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned USA flags on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the triumph of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi'ite cleric who toppled the Shah in an Islamic Revolution that rattles the West to this day.

Others carried pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi'ite religious leader whose return from exile led to the ouster of Iran's Shah.

State TV showed crowds defying cold rainy weather and carrying Iranian flags while shouting "Death to Israel, Death to America", trademark chants of the revolution which ousted the United States' most important ally in the Middle East.

"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.

"We do not and we will not ask permission for producing any type of missiles from anybody", Rouhani said in his speech Monday, though he stressed that Iran would "continue constructive engagement" with the worldwide community.

Iranians were also pictured burning numerous American flags as they celebrated the landmark anniversary in the country's capital.

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

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.

The state has played up this year's anniversary as 40 is symbolic of maturity in the Islamic tradition and the age at which Prophet Mohammed received revelations from God.

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An anchor on state television warned of hostile foreign media trying to downplay the participation of Iranians in the march but expressed confidence that "they would be confounded by the unprecedented level of attendance".

In his address on Tehran's Azadi Square, Rohani said the "enemy will never reach its evil objectives", vowing that Iran will defeat US sanctions.

In January, Mr Rouhani said Iran was facing its worst economic crisis since the Shah was toppled.

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

Current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is set to publish "a detailed statement explaining the "second step" of the progress of the Islamic revolution", his official website said.

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

Referring to Iran as "the Mother Land", Rouhani said that during the rule of "the traitor Qajar dynasty 205 years ago", large portions of lands were separated from Northern Iran and the caucuses.

Extensive fireworks displays were held across Tehran on Sunday night, timed to coincide with the demonstrations.

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