The 45th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution was celebrated Sunday amid the backdrop of tumult across the Middle East sparked by the Hamas Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel.
General Mohammad Salami, commander of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was amongst those leading the calls for the destruction of the U.S. and Israel which the regime has blamed along with “Britain and many European countries as well as their stooges […] complicit in the Zionist regime’s criminal acts against the Palestinian people.”
AP reports thousands of Iranians marched through major streets and squares decorated with flags, balloons, and banners with revolutionary and religious slogans.
In Tehran, crowds waved Iranian flags, chanted slogans, and carried placards with the traditional “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” written on them.
Some burned U.S. and Israeli flags, a common practice in pro-government rallies, the report notes.
During the public celebrations, a paratrooper jumped from a plane while displaying a Palestinian flag.
Many high-ranking Iranian officials attended the celebrations in Tehran, including hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi.
Raisi addressed the crowds in Azadi Square and called on the United Nations — in a speech broadcast by state TV — to expel “the Zionist regime,” as the crowds chanted: “Death to Israel.”
Raisi also said, “the bombing of Gaza has to be stopped as soon as possible.”
The Islamic Revolution began with widespread unrest in Iran over the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The shah, terminally and secretly ill with cancer, fled the country in January 1979.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini then returned from exile and the government fell on Feb. 11, 1979, after days of mass demonstrations and confrontations between protesters and security forces.
AP contributed to this report