Iranians take to streets for Islamic Revolution's 40th anniversary

A big flag of Iran waving in the wind in Tehran

A big flag of Iran waving in the wind in Tehran

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

On Feb. 11 that year, Iran's military stood down after days of street battles, allowing the revolutionaries to sweep across the country while the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi resigned.

In Tehran, crowds streamed in the rain from a dozen of the capital's far-flung neighborhoods to mass in central Tehran Azadi, or Freedom Square, on Monday, waving Iranian flags and chanting "Death to America" - a chant that has been standard fare at anti-U.S. rallies across Iran.

After decades of hostility with the United States, the Islamic Republic vowed to increase its military strength despite mounting pressure from Western countries.

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

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

Israel and Iran have not maintained diplomatic relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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. 40 years of terror.

The celebrations included several instance of muscle flexing, including the launch and test of new missiles, which would put Israel squarely within precise range of the Iranian armed forces. "The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future", Trump wrote on Twitter Monday.

"Our presence in the 40th anniversary of the revolution is to show our support for the Islamic Republic", said one sign held by a protester.

Reuters could not independently verify the pictures.

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In this February 11, 2016 file photograph, an Iranian woman holds the national flag during a rally commemorating the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, in Tehran, Iran.

Huge crowds have turned out on the streets of Iran in state-organised rallies to mark the 40th anniversary of the country's Islamic Revolution.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Revolutionary Guards deputy head, said Tehran would not withdraw forces from the region, dismissing U.S. calls for Iranian clout to be curbed. But he remained defiant as Iranians recalled the end of a monarch who catered to the rich and unleashed secret police on dissenters.

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.

A senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Tehran would not withdraw its forces from the region, dismissing USA calls that Iranian regional influence should be curbed.

"The United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military assets". Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took note and responded: try it, and it will be the last Revolution Day the Iranians will ever celebrate.

In a report coinciding with the celebrations, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that 61,900 political prisoners had been held in Iran since the 1980s.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander (IRGC) celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution on Monday by threatening to raze Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are locked in proxy wars in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

A senior commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Tehran would not withdraw forces from the region, dismissing US calls for Iranian clout to be curbed.

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