Thousands attend rally to mark revolution anniversary

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied yesterday to mark the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, denouncing the United States and Israel as oppressors.
President Hassan Rouhani, addressing flag-waving crowds on central Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square, made no specific reference to Israel's air strikes in Syria yesterday which it said were aimed at air defence and Iranian targets.
But he told the crowd: 'They (US and Israel) wanted to create tension in the region...they wanted to divide Iraq, Syria...They wanted to create long-term chaos in Lebanon but...
but with our help their policies failed.
Iran backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war.
US President Donald Trump, who sees Iran as a rising threat to regional stability in the Middle East, has pledged to work with Israel and Saudi Arabia to curb what they say are Tehran's attempts to extend its influence in the region.
Israel has warned about the increased Iranian involvement along its borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Israel's air strikes yesterday which it said successfully hit air defence and Iranian targets represented the most serious confrontation between Israel and Iranian-backed forces in Syria in the seven-year civil war.
The Syrian army claimed to have brought down an Israeli F-16 after Israel reportedly shot down an Iranian drone which it said had entered Israeli airspace.
Iran has denied the Israeli claim, saying its presence in Syria is only advisory.
In a show of defiance of Western pressure to curb its ballistic missile programme, Iran put its Ghadr ballistic missile with a range of 2,000km on display in Tehran's central Vali-ye Asr street.
Iran says its missile programme is solely defensive in nature and is not negotiable as demanded by the United States and the Europeans.
Iranian State television said 'tens of millions of people rallied to support the revolution across the country of 81mn, which faced its worst domestic crisis in nearly a decade in late December. 'America wanted to interfere in our state matters. But they failed because of our nation's awareness and unity, Rouhani said, echoing Iran's claim that the protests were instigated from abroad.


Gulf Times

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