Wed, 21 Nov 2018

Rallies mark Islamic revolution anniversary in Iran

By Sheetal Sukhija, Middle East News
12 Feb 2018, 11:47 GMT+10

TEHRAN, Iran - Iranians took to the streets on Sunday, to mark the 39th anniversary of Islamic revolution, as a show of support for the government, in the wake of protests against those in power last month.

The state-run media reported that rallies were held in Tehran and hundreds of other cities and towns as a show of strength by the ruling theocracy, indicating that the government could still mobilize supporters.

The local media stated that civil servants, school students, children and grandparents turned out to commemorate the overthrow in 1979 of a secular, pro-Western monarchy.

In the capital of Tehran, reports noted that rallies were held in a relaxed, carnival-like atmosphere, lacking the grandeur of previous anniversaries. 

The state-run Fars news agency also published photos of one mockup of a ballistic missile and showcased footage of some of the rallies where American and Israeli flags were burned.

The recent wave of anti-government demonstrations across the country, that began in late December and spread nationwide were largely played down by participants in Sunday’s rally. 

During the protests against rising prices and corruption late last year, thousands of people were arrested and at least 21 people died.

It became the most significant unrest to hit Iran in nearly a decade.

President Hassan Rouhani addressed a crowd in Tehran's central Azadi Square, calling for all Iranians, from hardliners who support the conservative theocracy to reformists calling for greater political and social freedoms, to come together to support the revolution.

Rouhani said, "I request that the 40th year of the revolution, the coming year, be the year of unity.”

The Iranian President stressed that the country would continue to adhere to its commitments in the 2015 nuclear agreement it signed with the U.S. and other world powers, striking a typically defiant tone toward President Trump, who has threatened to back out of the deal.

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