Iranians are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution which saw the toppling of the U.S.-backed Shah regime and brought the Islamic Republic.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned U.S. flags Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the triumph of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi’ite cleric who toppled the United States-backed monarch of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, while addressing a huge gathering at Tehran’s Azadi Square (Freedom Square) said, “This presence makes it clear that the enemy will never succeed and the Revolution will continue on the same path as in the past 40 years,” the president said. “We will not let America succeed,” adding that the Islamic Revolution will go on to defeat all U.S. plots against the country.
On Feb. 11, 1979, Iran’s army declared its neutrality, paving the way for the collapse of the Shah, the closest ally of the U.S. in the Middle East.
The revolution that saw the win of the anti-U.S. group was started in January 1978. It was a series of events that led to the overthrow of the Shah regime.
“Death to Israel, Death to America,” were the chants that could be heard during the 40th celebration of the revolution.
"The United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military assets. But if they attack us, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground," Yadollah Javani, a senior Revolutionary Guard said during the celebrations.
U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers last year and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said that U.S. policy should be to make sure that Iran’s Revolution would not last until its 40th anniversary.
Proving naysayers wrong, Iranians gathered in large numbers to commemorate the anniversary. Many Iranian pilgrims also gathered at Iraq’s holy city of Najaf where Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini resided while in exile.
“The house captures the spirit of Khomeini. He was not interested in money or worldly possessions - he was there to serve the people,” said one visitor, 56-year-old Mohammad Javad Elahi. Khomeini went into exile in the 1960s, first to Turkey then to Najaf.
“The world saw when Iran decided to help people of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Yemen, they achieved victory. The enemies are now confessing to their defeat,” said Rouhani.
“If you want regional security, no plan will succeed without Iran, and the global arrogance, Americans and Zionists should know that this victory will be Iran’s.”