Iranians Rally against US, Donald Trump on Islamic Revolution Anniversary

Iranians celebrate during a ceremony marking the 38th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, at the Azadi (Freedom) square in Tehran, Iran, 10 February 2017. Photo: Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets celebrating the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in the country while also protesting the policies of new US President Donald Trump seen as directed against the Islamic Republic.

Iran celebrated Friday the 38th year since the revolution which removed the pro-Western regime of the Shah backed by the United States, and established a Shiite regime led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The celebratory rallies in Tehran and other Iranian cities for the 38th Islamic Revolution anniversary were used by the Iranians to “protest against the violation of the [Iranian] nuclear deal by the United States,” according to the state-owned IRNA news agency.

The Iranian nuclear deal in question (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) was signed in July 2015 by Iran and six foreign powers (including the US) to ensure that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, and not for the development of nuclear weapons.

The agreement was championed by former US President Barack Obama and his Administration as one of its landmark foreign policy achievements. However, it has come under severe criticism by the new US President Donald Trump long before his election and inauguration.

The Iranians rallied against Trump on Revolution Day have been prompted in part by last week’s decision of the Trump Administration to impose a fresh set of sanctions on Iran, after the Middle Eastern country conducted ballistic missile tests in January.

While the Trump Administration argued the sanctions would reinforce the implementation of the Iranian nuclear agreement, the view in Iran is that they have in fact violated it.

In addition to the new sanctions, Washington recently angered the regime in Tehran when President Donald Trump instituted an immigration and travel ban on Iran and six other Muslim Middle Eastern countries (the infamous “Muslim travel ban” or “Muslim ban”).

‘Hanging’ Trump

“In a statement released at the end of the Revolution Day Rally, Tehran demonstrators condemned efforts by the US government and its allies to impose new sanctions against the Islamic Republic and generate fresh waves of Islamophobia and Iranophobia across the world,“ IRNA reported on the anti-American demonstrations in Iran.

The protesters urged the Iranian leadership to strike back at the US with reciprocal measures, condemned not just the US but also the UK and Israel (referred to as “the Zionist regime), and demanded protection for “the sovereignty of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and other regional states”, i.e. Iran’s allies in the region.

Their statement declared they were prepared to stand up to all foreign threats to Iran, and that the development of the country’s missile forces was unconditional, largely reiterating points from the recent speech of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said on Tuesday that Donald Trump was acting in favor of Iran by “exposing America’s true face” to the world, so Tehran did not have to do it.

The celebratory rallies for the 38th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran saw decidedly anti-American and anti-Trump actions.

Protesters burned US and Israeli, the semi-official Iranian news agency Tasnim reported.

They marched with “Death to America” banners, hanged effigies of US President Donald Trump, and trampled on posters with his photo, Iran’s state TV reported, as cited by Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Theresa May were also featured in the posters held up by the protesters.

Great Successes in ‘Nuclear Activity’

In his speech on the Iranian Revolution anniversary, the country’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani also employed a though tone, slamming the “amateurs” (also translated as “novices” or “rookies”) who had come to power in the world and in the US, an apparent reference to US President Trump.

“Today we face a problem. Amateurs have come to power in the region. In the US, too, some amateurs have taken power. But all should know that they should talk to Iranian nation only with the language of respect. This nation will firmly respond to threats,“ Rouhani stressed in his speech before the Revolution Day rally on Azadi Square in Tehran, as cited by IRNA.

“Some inexperienced figures in the region and America are threatening Iran … They should know that the language of threats has never worked with Iran,” Rouhani told the crowd at Azadi Square.

“One who threatens the Iranian nation and its armed forces should know that our nation are vigilant and united and would stand against all ill-wishers,” he added noting that the 1979 Islamic Revolution had liberated Iranian people from dependence to foreign countries, including the US, and allowed them to become masters of their own destiny.

In what also appears to be a warning on the nuclear program issue, Rouhani made it clear that “Iran has achieved great successes in the field of peaceful nuclear activity.”

Rouhani has been a proponent of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal which, however, has been criticized by hardliners in the regime in Tehran.

Tensions between Iran and the United States continue to remain high, with recent media reports suggesting that in addition to the travel ban and the new sanctions over the former’s recent ballistic missile tests, the Trump Administration was considering naming Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

Iran’s immediate reaction to the new US sanctions against it was to denounce them, and to vow its own sanctions on American individuals and companies. It also carried further ballistic missile tests in defiance of the American measure.

Earlier, in response to President Donald Trump’s “Muslim travel ban” Iran retaliated by banning US wrestlers from competing in an Iranian freestyle wrestling competition.

Among other things, for America the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution reminded memories of the 1.5-year-long hostage crisis after the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran by an angry mob in 1979, with the 52 hostages being released just as President Ronald Reagan was sworn into office in January 1980.

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