People flooded Tehran’s Freedom Square as they celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1979 ousting of the monarchy. Anti-US sentiment was on show with some demonstrators chanting “death to America” and burning US flags.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets of the capital Tehran on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ousted the Shah’s last government.
The march is the culmination of official celebrations called the “10 Day Dawn” that marks the period in February 1979 when the revolution’s leader Khomeini returned from exile and toppled the monarchy.
Downtown Enghelab, or Revolution Street, was decorated with giant balloons and loudspeakers blasted revolutionary and nationalist songs to encourage people to join the rallies. Fireworks displays were also held across Tehran on Sunday night.
Crowds streamed to Freedom Square waving Iranian flags and chanting “death to America” — a slogan that can often be hard at anti-US rallies across Iran.
Last week, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei defended the “Death to America” chants but said they are aimed at America’s leaders and not its people.
The Iranian people “will not stop saying ‘Death to America’ as long as the US acts maliciously” toward Iran, Khamenei said, referring to US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in which he, among other things, said: “We will not avert our eyes from a regime that chants death to America.”
ran ‘will not ask for permission’ to develop missiles
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran was determined to expand its military power and ballistic missile program despite mounting pressure from hostile countries to curb Iran’s defensive work, state TV reported.
Not all Iranians celebrating
Despite the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets for the 40th anniversary, DW’s Persian service chief Jamshid Barzegar said the large turnout at the state supported event was not enough to say that Iranians are celebrating.
“[Iranians] are facing different problems — a wide range of problems — from environmental problems to rising prices, inflation and food shortages,” Barzegar said. “For instance, right now while we are talking, Iranian people are having problems to get meat, it’s a crisis currently, so it’s difficult to say, but based on what we can see on social media many are really disappointed and are not celebrating the anniversary as the government does.”