Rouhani: Iran to continue expanding military might, missile program
12 February, 2019, 16:27
In a speech marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Rouhani said: "47 years ago, which is seven years before the Islamic Revolution during the reign of the traitor Pahlavi regime, an important part of southern Iran separated, and we have read that geographically it was a part of Iran, and its 14th province".
Others carried pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi'ite religious leader whose return from exile led to the ouster of Iran's Shah.
Banners held by marchers or hung along the streets bore slogans including "Death to America", "Death to Israel", "we will trample on America", "40 years of challenge, 40 years of USA defeats".
In his address on Tehran's Azadi Square, Rohani said the "enemy will never reach its evil objectives", vowing that Iran will defeat US sanctions.
"We have not asked and will not ask for permission to develop different types of missiles and will continue our path and our military power", President Hassan Rouhani said.
After decades of hostility with the US, Tehran said it was determined to expand its military power and ballistic missile program despite mounting pressure to curb its defensive work.
The remarks came a day after Trump tweeted about 40 years of "corruption, repression and terror", reacting to the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution, which he claimed was followed by "the regime in Iran producing only 40 years of failure".
Last year, Iran cracked down on protests over poor living standards.
"I bow in admiration to Iran's resilient people who - despite hardships and grievances - today poured into streets by the millions to mark 40th anniv of their Islamic Revolution, which some in the U.S. wished would never come", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.
The large turnout in state-sponsored rallies, in which US and Israeli flags were burned, came as Iranians face mounting economic hardships many blame on the country's clerical leaders.
State television offered blanket coverage of the commemorations, showing marches in cities ranging from Abadan in southwestern Iran to Mashhad in the northeast.
Those who took to the streets were bullish despite the economic problems in the country, made worse by Washington's punitive measures. "And that's why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!" he claimed.
That April, the Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed following a referendum. He said, "The United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us".
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.
Extensive fireworks displays were held across Tehran on Sunday night, timed to coincide with the demonstrations.
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