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

Frederick Owens
February 12, 2019

Banners held by marchers or hung in the streets bore slogans including "Death to America", "Death to Israel", and "40 years of challenge, 40 years of USA defeats".

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

He vowed to boost Iran's military and ballistic missile program.

"The United States does not have the courage to fire a single bullet at us despite all its defensive and military assets".

Iran displayed its ballistic missile capabilities during a parade, including the Zolfaqar, a ground-to-ground missile with a 700 km (435 miles) range and the Qiam, with a range of 800 km, according to Tasnim news agency.

But despite the official festivities today's Islamic republic faces acute economic challenges as it struggles with a mix of domestic hardships and USA sanctions.

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

This year's anniversary come as tensions are rising with the US and Iran is grappling with re-imposed USA sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Iranians who had gathered in Tehran's Azadi (Freedom) Square they should resist a "conspiracy" involving Washington.

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Journalist Mikey Kay recalled in this vein that Bolton has spoken at least eight times at rallies organised by MEK (Mojahedin-e Khalq), an Iranian dissident group which calls for regime change in Iran and is known to pay up to $50,000 per speech.

"Our presence in the 40th anniversary of the revolution is to show our support for the Islamic Republic", said one sign held by a protester. The demonstrations posed the most serious challenge to its clerical leadership since a 2009 uprising over disputed elections.

"The Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties but we will overcome the problems by helping each other", he said.

Dismissing calls that Iranian regional influence should be curbed, the deputy commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was quoted as saying on February 11 that "the enemy can not ask us to leave the region". "But if they attack us, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground", Brig.

Trump also shared another tweet with the same message in Farsi, which is widely spoken in Iran.

"I don't ignore the threats from the Iranian regime, but I'm also not intimidated by them", Netanyahu said in a Hebrew-language video uploaded to social media.

"If this regime makes the very bad mistake of trying to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, it will not succeed", the Israeli leader said. 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.

Today, Iran enjoys growing influence through proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, raising concerns in Sunni Saudi Arabia, which accuses its rival of trying to dominate the Middle East. Tehran denies that.

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