Millions are celebrating the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran that toppled the Pahlavi dynasty.
The celebrations are marked this year by tense relations with the US.
Hundreds of thousands took to the streets of the capital Tehran on Friday.
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Some Iranians denounced US President Donald Trump’s recent statements regarding the Muslim state, while others thanked the United States for supporting Muslims.
Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump was today’s star in Tehran pic.twitter.com/4qiugTUTFA
— Ali Hashem علي هاشم (@alihashem_tv) 10 February 2017
On the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which saw the ousting of the former US-backed House of Pahlavi, a flood of protesters headed towards Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square with Iranian flags, celebrating the rule of the current clerical establishment.
Some also carried effigies of Trump, as well as banners reading “Death to America,” the footage showed, to the sound of traditional Iranian revolutionary songs played by police military ensemble.
ELBINAWIRT Hassanvand: .POTUS, realDonaldTrump, lynched at Iran’s revolution anniversary rally in Tehran pic.twitter.com/8Zm29bGQu1 February …
— IntellectResistance (@IntelResist) 10 February 2017
The crowd included hundreds of military personnel and police officers, Reuters reported citing local TV.
📷 American🇺🇸, Israeli🇮🇱 flags trampled at Iran’s 1979 revolution anniversary in Tehran pic.twitter.com/L8yCOxKZuV
— Sobhan Hassanvand (@Hassanvand) 10 February 2017
Footage showed people trampling on pictures of Trump in a central Tehran street, where marchers carried banners reading: “Thanks Mr. Trump for showing the real face of America.” The crowd was also seen burning US and Israeli flags. Israel is Washington’s main ally in the region, while Iran has been supporting Palestinians in their dispute with Israel. Chanting out provocative slogans and burning flags are common practices at mass demonstrations in Iran.
However, some Iranians held banners that said “Down with the US regime, Long live US people” and “Americans are welcome to visit Iran,” showing gratitude to the demonstrators who took to the streets of America to protest Trump’s executive order barring entry to the citizens of seven Muslim countries, including Iran. Yesterday, a US Court of Appeals upheld an injunction blocking enforcement of the ban, but the case will likely continue to be appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The protest comes after Iran’s most powerful authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Iranians earlier this week to demonstrate against the US to show Iran was not frightened of their “threats.”
“[Trump] says ‘You should be afraid of me.’ No! The Iranian people will respond to his words on February 10 and will show their stance against such threats,” Khamenei said on Tuesday.
Last week Fox News published an interview with Donald Trump, in which he said “they [Iran] have total disregard for our country, they’re the number one terrorist state, they’re sending money all over the place and weapons,” referring to accusations frequently coming from the West that Tehran is supporting various Shiite rebel groups in the Middle East, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian group Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen.
Earlier in February, the US also imposed new sanctions on Iran in response to a ballistic missile test, which Trump’s National Security Advisor Mike Flynn described as provocative and destabilizes the situation across the Middle East.
The US claimed the test violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 which called on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles.” Flynn said that the Trump administration “condemns such actions by Iran,” and has “officially put Iran on notice.”
Addressing the crowds on Friday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also called on Iranians to “show their unbreakable ties with the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic.”
“Some inexperienced figures in the region and America are threatening Iran […] They should know that the language of threats has never worked with Iran […] They should learn to respect Iran and Iranians […] We will strongly confront any warmongering policies,” Rouhani told the crowd at the Azadi Square, as cited by Reuters, which reported that millions had shown up to commemorate the occasion across the country.
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