Hundreds of thousands in Iran mark 40th anniversary of Islamic Revolution

REUTERS  Raheb Homavandi  File

REUTERS Raheb Homavandi File

Rouhani also vowed Iran would defeat U.S. sanctions, reimposed after President Donald Trump withdrew from Tehran's nuclear accord with world powers past year.

The scathing slogans appeared just days after Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said such insults should not be taken personally by US or Israeli citizens.

Soldiers, students, clerics and black-clad women holding small children thronged streets across Iran, many carrying portraits of Khomeini, who died in 1989, and Iran's current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered a fiery speech in Azadi Square in Tehran on Monday.

Later that year, Iranian militants took dozens of people hostage at the US Embassy in Tehran, sparking the first round of sanctions from Washington and causing a lasting rupture in countries' relations. One had the face of Trump and the other the face of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Crowds chanted "Death to America, death to Israel" as hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered at rallies to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

Yadollah Javani, the Revolutionary Guards' deputy head for political affairs, said Iran would demolish cities in Israel to the ground if the United States attacked the Islamic Republic.

"The United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military assets", he was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA. He was greeted by millions of supporters in Tehran.

Highlighting the failure of hostile plots to foment insecurity in Iran, the cleric said his organization will publicize more cases of defeat of the enemies in the intelligence arena in future.

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Revolutionary Guards deputy head, said Tehran would not withdraw forces from the region, dismissing USA calls for Iranian clout to be curbed. "They must leave the region", said Brig.

Rouhani said he will not seek permission from foreign powers to boost Iran's missile programme, which he said is necessary to defend the country from external threats.

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