Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Timeline: Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the 40 years that followed

Timeline: Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the 40 years that followed

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned USA flags on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the triumph of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi'ite cleric who toppled the Shah in an Islamic Revolution that rattles the West to this day.

Ten days after Islamic clerical opposition leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile in Paris on a special Air France charter, the royal reign collapsed and he became the country's supreme leader.

In Tehran, crowds streamed in the rain from a dozen of the capital's far-flung neighbourhoods to mass in central Tehran Azadi, or Freedom Square, on Monday, waving Iranian flags and chanting "Death to America" - a chant that has been standard fare at anti-U.S. rallies across Iran. "It means death to American leaders, who happen to be these people at this time".

Soldiers, students, clergymen and women wearing black filled streets across Iran.

Pahlavi's name has been in the news often since late 2017 as some groups in Iran have called for a return of the monarchy during large nationwide demonstrations against political corruption and poor economic conditions.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran are high after the U.S. withdrew from an global nuclear deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions, and re-imposed sanctions that have hurt the Iranian economy. Trump also reestablished US economic sanctions against Iran. "The enemies are now confessing to their defeat", said Rouhani. He told Iranians that the Shah cared mostly about rich people and let the country's secret police carry out abuses.

In the capital's Azadi Square, President Hassan Rouhani dismissed USA efforts to isolate Tehran while touting his country's military might.

Iran also has vast clout in Iraq, where Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the overseas arm of the Revolutionary Guards, was frequently photographed guiding Shi'ite militias in the war against Sunni Islamic State militants.

"The United States does not have the courage to fire a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military assets". Gen. Yadollah Javani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

In an anniversary celebration in Tehran on Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took his own defiant stand against the United States, CNN reported.

At a parade to mark the anniversary, Iran showed off its weaponry, including a ground-to-ground missile that can travel a distance of 700 kilometers.

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