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Iranians mark anniversary of victory day in 1979 revolution

Updated : 2019-02-13 19:45:58

Waving Iranian flags, chanting "Death to America" and burning US and Israeli flags, hundreds of thousands of people poured out onto the streets across Iran on Monday, marking the date that's considered victory day in the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

On February 11 that year, Iran's military stood down after days of street battles, allowing the revolutionaries to sweep across the country while the government of US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi resigned and the Islamic Republic was born.

In Tehran, despite the rain, crowds streamed in from the capital's far-flung neighbourhoods to mass in the central Azadi, or Freedom, Square, waving Iranian flags and chanting "Death to America" — standard fare at rallies across Iran.

Chants of "Death to Israel" and "Death to Britain" followed, and demonstrators burned US and Israeli flags. Iranian state TV, which said millions participated in the celebrations, ran archive footage of the days of the uprising and played revolutionary songs. It later broadcast footage showing crowds across the country of 80 million.

The 6-mile-long downtown Enghelab, or Revolution, Street was decorated with huge balloons as loudspeakers blared out revolutionary and nationalist songs.

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

This year's anniversary comes as Iran grapples with the aftermath of President Donald Trump's decision last May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and restore tough US sanctions.

Schoolgirls wave Iranian flags during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom, Square, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. Hundreds of thousands of people poured out onto the streets of Tehran and other cities and towns across Iran on Monday, marking the date 40 years ago that is considered victory day in the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Schoolgirls wave Iranian flags during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom, Square, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. Hundreds of thousands of people poured out onto the streets of Tehran and other cities and towns across Iran on Monday, marking the date 40 years ago that is considered victory day in the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian demonstrators chant slogans during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. Crowds streamed in the rain from a dozen of the capital's far-flung neighbourhoods to mass in central Tehran waving Iranian flags and chanting
Iranian demonstrators chant slogans during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. Crowds streamed in the rain from a dozen of the capital's far-flung neighbourhoods to mass in central Tehran waving Iranian flags and chanting "Death to America" — a chant that has been standard fare at anti-US rallies across Iran. Posters in Farsi read, "Death to Israel." (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
A demonstrator holds an anti-US placard during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
A demonstrator holds an anti-US placard during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Two women shelter from the rain during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. 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, waving Iranian flags and chanting
Two women shelter from the rain during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. 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, waving Iranian flags and chanting "Death to America" — a chant that has been standard fare at anti-US rallies across Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Children wave Iranian flags during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Children wave Iranian flags during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranians attend a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution as one of them holds a portrait of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranians attend a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution as one of them holds a portrait of the late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Demonstrators chant slogan in a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Demonstrators chant slogan in a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, Freedom, Square in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranians attend a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, near the Azadi, or Freedom Tower, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranians attend a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, near the Azadi, or Freedom Tower, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian women attend a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, as two of them hold portraits of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian women attend a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, as two of them hold portraits of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
A man holds a placard that reads in Farsi,
A man holds a placard that reads in Farsi, "Death to England," during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Two boys hold up posters of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, and late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, left, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Two boys hold up posters of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, and late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, left, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian women hold up portraits of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian women hold up portraits of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
A man holds a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
A man holds a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
An Iranian woman holds up a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as she makes the victory sign during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
An Iranian woman holds up a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as she makes the victory sign during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
An Iranian woman holds an effigy of US president Donald Trump, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
An Iranian woman holds an effigy of US president Donald Trump, during a rally marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iranian Revolutionary Guard members arrive for a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom, Square, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. On February 11, 1979. Iran's military stood down after days of street battles, allowing the revolutionaries to sweep across the country, and the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi resigned. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian Revolutionary Guard members arrive for a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom, Square, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. On February 11, 1979. Iran's military stood down after days of street battles, allowing the revolutionaries to sweep across the country, and the government of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi resigned. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranians wave national flags during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom, Square, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranians wave national flags during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom, Square, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
A group of Iranians listen to President Hassan Rouhani address the crowd during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom Square, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
A group of Iranians listen to President Hassan Rouhani address the crowd during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom Square, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, February 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
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