On its annual Revolution Day, Iran cemented its national identity on hatred of the US and Israel.
Millions of Iranians on Friday marked the 38th anniversary of the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution with nationwide celebrations and mass rallies in hundreds of cities across the country.
Marchers stepped on large US flags laid out on the streets, while demonstrators chanted slogans against the US and Israel.
Hundreds of thousands marched toward Tehran’s central Azadi Square, where President Hassan Rouhani addressed the crowds, telling them that Iran will strongly answer any threat from its enemies.
This year, the anniversary came against the backdrop of remarks by US President Donald Trump, who has already engaged in a war of words with Iran’s leadership and put Tehran “on notice” over its recent illicit ballistic missile test.
“All of them should know that they must talk to the Iranian nation with respect and dignity,” Rouhani declared. “Our nation will strongly answer to any threat. (Iranians) will resist before enemies until the end.”
Many of the marchers carried the Iranian flag, others had banners and posters with revolutionary slogans. Printed US flags and pictures of current and former US presidents lay scattered on the streets so they could be trampled by the marchers.
Iran and the US have not had diplomatic relations since 1979, when Iranian students stormed the American embassy and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
Friday’s rallies commemorated Feb. 11 of that year, when followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ousted the US-backed Shah Reza Pahlavi.
One poster with a picture of Trump read, “Thanks Mr. Trump … for revealing the face of the US” — a reference to remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, earlier this week.
Khamenei said on Tuesday that the “newcomer” Trump has shown the “real face” of the United States. He spoke after Trump tweeted — following a ballistic missile test by Iran — that Iranians were “playing with fire,” saying they “don’t appreciate how ‘kind’ President (Barack) Obama was to them. Not me!”
In Tehran, some of the demonstrators threw balls and darts targeting pictures of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Others burned Israeli and American flags.
Many ranking officials attended the ceremony in Tehran, including Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who heads the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, which focuses on foreign operations such as the war in Syria and Iran’s global terrorism network.
Rouhani told reporters prior to addressing the crowds that Iranians will make the US regret using threatening language.
“Anyone who speaks the language of threat to this nation, the Iranian nation will make him regret” it, he said, without elaborating.
“This presence (of demonstrators) is a response to wrong comments by new leaders in the White House, and they announce with their presence to the world that they (US leaders) should talk with respect and not use threatening language to the Iranian nation,” Rouhani added.
Khamenei’s senior adviser, Gen. Rahim Safavi, said during a similar rally in the southern city of Ahvaz that the “evil triangle” of America, Britain and Israel “cannot create a serious military threat against Iran.”
By: AP and United with Israel Staff