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Iranians celebrate anti-American 40th anniversary of revolution

Posted by / February 11, 2019

Iranians celebrated the 40th anniversary of the fall of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the formation of their Islamic Republic today. The revolution brought to power Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi’ite cleric who fundamentally transformed the state into a theocracy and de facto leader of Shi’ite Islam.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched in various cities throughout Iran chanting Anti-American slogans and burning U.S. flags in memory of a revolution which rocked the Western world and American foreign policy. The then-removed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was the closest American ally in the Middle East before the revolution.

State TV in Iran showed booming crowds chanting “Death to Israel, Death to America,” chants which are considered trademarks of the revolution of 1979.

One banner read: “Much to the dismay of America, the revolution has reached its 40th year.”

Soldiers, students, clerics, and other women dressed in black with children marched across Tehran and other major cities with Iran. Many were carrying portraits of the their original leader Khomeini and Iran’s current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran’s Future Uncertain
Despite the enthusiastic gatherings, Iran’s future remains uncertain. Many economic hardships have been blamed on the country’s clerical leaders as Iran faces economic downturn due to mounting sanctions and structural economic issues. Just last year, protests by the working poor were cracked down which led to riots, the most serious rebuttal to the regime since uprisings since occured in 2009.

Much of Iran’s current economic issues are caused not only by structural issues domestically, but also by President Trump withdrawing from the nuclear deal signed in 2015. The withdrawal of the United States from the deal also brought on fresh sanctions on Iran which has since crippled the country. The price of basic foodstuffs, such as meat, have soared since the sanctions have been reinstated.

In January, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani publicly admitted that Iran was facing the worst economic crisis since the Shah was toppled in 1979. However, in his speech commemorating the revolution, he remained firm in his resolve that the Iranian revolution would not falter.

“We will not let America become victorious… Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties but we will overcome the problems by helping each other,” he said.

State TV and military also reaffirmed their commitment to defying U.S. power as the anniversary brought on many speeches by officials. Yadollah Javani, the Revolutionary Guards’ deputy head for political affairs, talked in bombastic terms: Iran would destroy every Israeli city if the United States attacked the Islamic Republic of Iran.

However, other Arab states have been discontent with Iran’s growing influence in the region. Although President Rouhani praised Iranian involvement in helping the people of “Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, and Yemen,” American allies in the region see the Shi’ite power as being far too ambitious with their military ventures.

Although many within Iran have said that the state is squandering funds for their military adventurism, the Iranian state has said that all of this is being done to “protect national interests.” But still, the future of Iran in light of this 40th anniversary celebration remains cautiously uncertain at best.

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