Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Rouhani: Iran to continue expanding military might, missile work

Rouhani: Iran to continue expanding military might, missile work

"Much to the dismay of America, the revolution has reached its 40th year", read one banner.

"Israel acts "constantly" to prevent Iran and its proxies from entrenching themselves on Israel's northern border and in the region", Netanyahu said.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned USA flags to mark the revolution's 40th anniversary on Monday as Tehran showed off ballistic missiles in defiance of US efforts to curb its military power.

Following reports of a second failed space launch by Iran in less than a month, the U.S. State Department last week called for "tougher global restrictions to deter Iran's missile program".

A commander from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) threatened to destroy the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if the United States attacks Iran, state news agency IRNA reported, provoking a strongly worded response from Israel.

Iranians walk past a missile during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.

This year's anniversary comes as tensions rise with the United States and Iran grapples with the aftermath of President Donald Trump's pullout last May from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and tough USA economic sanctions, re-imposed in November.

Every year, the anniversary festivities start on February 1 - the day Khomeini returned home from France after 14 years in exile to become the supreme leader as Shiite clerics took power - and continue for 10 days, climaxing on February 11.

"The presence of people today on the streets all over Islamic Iran... means that the enemy will never reach its evil objectives", President Hassan Rouhani told those crowding into Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) square.

The large turnout in state-sponsored rallies came as Iranians face rising prices, food shortages and high inflation that have triggered waves of protests.

Although the Iranian government has attempted to establish financial mechanisms that would facilitate its trade relations with European powers, its ability to trade internationally has been badly affected by renewed United States sanctions. "Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties but we will overcome the problems by helping each other", he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the threat.

"Were this regime to make the awful mistake of trying to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, it would not succeed, but it would mean that they had celebrated their last Revolution Day". They saw the revolution as the starting gun in a competition to push out the strongman Arab nationalism that had taken hold across the Middle East.

The Trump administration has pushed hard to weaken Iran and what it says is Tehran's "destabilizing" influence.

Yadollah Javani is the Revolutionary Guards' assistant head for political affairs.

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