TEHRAN: On the 38th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution 1979, which toppled the US- backed shah, hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied on Friday to swear allegiance to the clerical establishment following US President Trump's warning that he had put the Islamic Republic "on notice".
The march included hundreds of military personnel and policemen headed towards the Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square. They carried "Death to America" banners and effigies of Trump, whilie a military police band played traditional Iranian revolutuionary songs.
People were seen stepping on Trump's picture in a central Tehran street carrying Iranian flags and banners saying : "Thanks Mr. Trump for showing the real face of America. America and Trump cannot do a damn thing. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our leader", a young Iranian man said in refrence to Supreme Leader Ayatollh Ali Khamenei.
In a speech making the revolution anniversary,Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged Iran's faction-ridden elite to seek unity amid increased with the United States. "Some inexperienced figures in the region and America are threatening Iran … They should know that the language of threats has never worked with iran," Rouhani told the crowd at Azadi Sqare. "Our nation is vigilant and will make those threatening Iran regret it … They should learn to respect Iran and Iranians … We will strongly confront any war-mongering policies."
Some carried pictures of Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Theresa May captioned "Death to Triangle". Rouhani said "This turnout of people is a strong response to false remarks by the new leaders of America," said millions had turned out at rallies across Iran.
US flags were burned as is traditional although many Iranians on social media such as Twitter and Facebook used the hashtag #LoveBeyondFlags to urge an end to flag burning during the anniversary. They also thanked Americans for opposing Trump's executive order banning entry to the United States to travelers from seven muslim countries, including Iran. Trumps travel ban is being challenged in US courts.
Some marchers carried banners that read, "Thank to American people for supporting muslims ". Both U.S.- based social media sites are blolced in Iran by a wide-reaching government censor but they are still using special softwares to get around the restrictions. Iranian officials, including Khamenei, have Twitter and Facebook accounts despite the ban.
Trump has criticized a nuclear deal between Iran, the United States and other major powers in 2015 aimed at curbing the country's nuclear work. Most of the sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted last year under the deal. Rouhani defended the deal, which his hardline rivals oppose as a concession to pressure from Washington, saying it protected the Islamic Republic's rights to nuclear power, ending Iran's political isolation and crippling economic sanctions.