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Iran taunts US during revolution anniversary

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Iranians burn U.S. flags during a ceremony to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran, Iran February 11, 2019. Reuters

DUBAI (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marched and some burned US flags to mark the revolution’s 40th anniversary on Monday as Tehran showed off ballistic missiles in defiance of US efforts to curb its military power.

Soldiers, students, clerics and black-clad women holding small children thronged streets across Iran, many with portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shi’ite cleric who toppled the Shah in an Islamic uprising that still haunts the West.

On February 11, 1979, Iran’s army declared its neutrality, paving the way for the fall of US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

State television showed crowds carrying Iranian flags in cold rainy weather, shouting “Death to Israel, Death to America” – trademark chants of the revolution.

The Islamic Republic has vowed to increase its military strength despite mounting pressure from Western countries to curtail its ballistic missile program.

Those capabilities were on display during the march, including the Qadr F, a ground-to-ground missile with a 1,950-km range, Tasnim news agency said.

“We have not asked and will not ask for permission to develop different types of … missiles and will continue our path and our military power,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech at Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) square.

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