Iran celebrates 1979 overthrow of U.S.-aligned shah

Feb. 11 (UPI) — Iranians on Tuesday celebrated the 41st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution with rallies across the nation.

Numerous cities organized rallies but the largest was staged in Tehran, where some pledged alliance to the Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini.

The revolution began in January 1979 and ended on Feb. 11 with the overthrow of monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was an ally to the United States. Since then, the two nations have been in a constant adversarial state.

“Our revolution was a choice,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in Azadi Square, where many of the protests against Pahlavi occurred. “There was no need for revolution if shah gave people the right to choose.”

Iranians burned U.S. flags and chanted slogans during Tuesday’s rallies to express opposition toward the Trump administration and past U.S. support for Pahlavi.

Rouhani called on Iranians to unite and overcome U.S. economic sanctions.

“If we are united, America will be defeated and economic growth will happen,” he said.

Some carried signs supporting slain Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last month.

“Soleimani was both a general in the battlefield and a senior diplomat in negotiations,” Rouhani said. “He was martyred en route to talks with Iraqi prime minister not en route to the battlefield. Soleimani was not seeking war and instability in the region; U.S. and Israel are lying about him.”

Rouhani said Iran previously depended on others to supply 95 percent of its arms, but since the revolution has provided its own arsenal.

“Today, all of our needs are fulfilled domestically,” he said. “This means we have scientific capability and military might.”

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