In Revolution anniversary speech, Rouhani lays claim to Bahrain, other neighbors

12 February, 2019, 16:27 | Author: Carlos George
  • REUTERS  Raheb Homavandi  File

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back on Monday night after Iran threatened "to 'raze Tel Aviv and Haifa" to the ground, saying that if Tehran attacks Israel, it will be the last anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that they celebrate.

The event was the culmination of official celebrations called the "10 Day Dawn" that mark the period between February 1 and February 11, 1979, when Shiite cleric Khomeini returned from exile and ousted the shah's last government.

On Monday, Iranian state television broadcast images of people carrying Iranian flags and standing out in cold, rainy weather.

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

"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", President Hassan Rouhani said.

There's also a huge display of domestically-developed military equipment, including drones, missiles, bombs, and weapons.

A number of Israeli and American flags were set on fire by the crowds.

Iranians walk past a missile during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.

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Over the past decade, Iran has frequently test-fired and displayed missiles, sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. Some demonstrators shouted "Death to Israel, Death to America" - sayings often repeated at the time of the revolution.

This year's anniversary come as tensions are rising with the US and Iran is grappling with re-imposed USA sanctions.

Rouhani also promised the crowds that Iran would overcome the economic hardship amid the country's spiraling economy and the newly imposed US sanctions.

"I bow in admiration to Iran's resilient people who - despite hardships and grievances - today poured into streets by the millions to mark 40th anniv of their Islamic Revolution, which some in the United States wished would never come", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

"We will not let America become victorious - Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties, but we will overcome the problems by helping each other", he said in a speech.

Elsewhere, the head of the elite Quds Force of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, attended the rally in the southern city of Kerman.

"We are here to support the revolution", the 57-year-old pensioner, who refused to give his first name, told AFP at the event in Tehran. Iranian state TV, which said millions participated in the celebrations, ran archive footage of the days of the uprising and played revolutionary songs.

He compared the United States 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. He said, "The United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us".

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