Iranians celebrate 1979 revolution with rallies

AP , Friday 10 Feb 2017

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with a group of the air force commanders in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 (Photo:AP)

Iranians began a nationwide celebration Friday to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the 1979 revolution with rallies around the country.

Demonstrators in Tehran chanted traditional slogans against the U.S. and Israel. The rallies come at a time when new U.S. President Donald Trump has already engaged in a war of words with Iran's leadership and put Tehran "on notice" over a recent ballistic missile test.

Among other places, demonstrators marched toward Azadi Square, where President Hassan Rouhani was slated to address the crowd.

In downtown Tehran on Enghelab street thousands of people, some carrying the Iranian flag, some with banners and posters with revolutionary slogans.

Printed U.S. flags and pictures of current and former U.S. presidents were flattened on the road and trampled by some participants.

The rallies commemorate Feb. 11, 1979, when followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ousted the U.S.-backed Shah Reza Pahlavi.

Some posters distributed in English read: "Thanks to American people for supporting Muslims." Another one next to a picture of Trump said: "Thanks Mr. Trump ... for revealing the face of the U.S.," a reference to remarks Tuesday by Iran's supreme leader in which he said the "newcomer" Trump had shown the "real face" of the United States.

Some people threw balls and darts targeting pictures of Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Many ranking officials attended the ceremony Tehran, including Qassem Soleimani, a general who heads the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force that focuses on foreign operations like the war in Syria.

State television aired footage of commemorations in Tehran and other cities and towns across the country, many of them in sub-zero weather.

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