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Rouhani: Iran to continue expanding military might, missile work

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REUTERS  Raheb Homavandi  File

As The Times of Israel notes, "t$3 op political and military leaders in Iran regularly call for Israel's annihilation", so Javani's paean to his regime's genocidal ambitions is not at all unprecedented.

Chants of "Death to Israel" and "Death to Britain" followed, and demonstrators burned US and Israeli flags.

Bolton, a leading hawk in the Trump administration's attempt to weaken Iranian influence, was tweeting as a huge crowd in Tehran gathered to celebrate the 1979 revolution, in which Muslim leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini ended the centuries-old rule of the royal dynasty.

The festivities to mark the Iranian Revolution start every year on February 1, the day that Khomeini returned from exile to become supreme leader of the Islamic republic. "But it does not mean we support corruption of some officials and their betrayal of the oppressed people".

Last year, Iran cracked down on protests over poor living standards in over 80 cities and towns that posed the most serious challenge to its clerical leadership since a 2009 revolt over disputed elections.

"I bow in admiration to Iran's resilient people who - despite hardships and grievances - today poured into streets by the millions to mark 40th anniversary of their Islamic Revolution, which some in the United States wished would never come", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

This year's celebrations come amid heightened tensions with the United States, which last year withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers and reimposed tough sanctions on the Iranian economy.

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He told Iranians that the Shah cared mostly about rich people and let the country's secret police carry out abuses. But he remained defiant as Iranians recalled the end of a monarch who catered to the rich and unleashed secret police on dissenters.

Rouhani also promised the crowds that Iran would overcome the economic hardship amid the country's spiraling economy and the newly imposed US sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Israeli Air Force pilots' graduation ceremony at Hatzerim air base in southern Israel, Dec. 26, 2018.

An anchor on state television warned of hostile foreign media trying to downsize the participation of Iranians in the march but expressed confidence that "they would be confounded by the unprecedented level of attendance".

"If this regime makes the bad mistake and tries to destroy Tel Aviv or Haifa, it won't be successful and it will be the last anniversary of their revolution they will ever celebrate". They saw the revolution as the starting gun in a competition to push out the strongman Arab nationalism that had taken hold across the Middle East.

In Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is the branch of the military responsible for upholding the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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