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If Iran attacks us, it would be their last anniversary
12 February 2019, 04:28 | Devin Moran
Rouhani: Iran to continue expanding military might, missile program
An Iranian girl poses with a potrait of the country's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei with signs reading "Down with USA" and "Down with Israel" during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of Islamic Revolution by the capital Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) tower in the square of the same name on February 11, 2019.
On Feb 11, 1979, Iran's army declared its neutrality, paving the way for the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the United States' closest ally in the Middle East.
State TV showed crowds defying rainy weather and carrying Iranian flags while shouting anti-Israeli and anti-US slogans.
"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.
Life-size replicas of Iranian-made cruise and ballistic missiles lined the route in a statement of defiance at a time of heightened tensions with the United States.
A number of Israeli and American flags were set on fire by the crowds. "40 Years of Failure to destabilize Iran through blood & treasure", FM Zarif wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
It was not clear whether the amnesty would also apply to political prisoners.
Chants of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" can commonly be heard in Iranian demonstrations of nationalist fervor, with this one being no exception.
"After 40 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has failed to fulfill its promises to uphold and safeguard the rights of its citizens", Bolton tweeted Monday morning.
The large turnout in state-sponsored rallies came as Iranians face mounting economic hardships.
"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. Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties but we will overcome the problems by helping each other, ' Rouhani said.
Rouhani lambasted calls from the United States and Europe for a fresh agreement to curb Iran's missile program.
Elsewhere, the head of the elite Quds Force of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, attended the rally in the southern city of Kerman.
The 10-day period from the return of Imam Khomeini until the revolution's victory is celebrated annually in Iran, and is known as the Ten-Day Fajr (Dawn).
He compared the USA sanctions and economic hardships to "riding a bicycle when someone puts a stick in the wheels" but pointed to advances in other fields as more than making up for them.
Before the fireworks, supporters of the revolution shouted chants of "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) from rooftops, recalling the protests that swept Khomeini to power four decades earlier.
The scathing slogans appeared just days after Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said such insults should not be taken personally by USA or Israeli citizens.
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