Millions of Iranians have taken to the streets across the country to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed Pahlavi regime in 1979.
The rallies in the capital Tehran began at 9:30 a.m. local time (06:00 GMT) on Saturday, with demonstrators from various social strata and different parts of the city marching toward the iconic Azadi (Freedom) Square.
People waved photos of the late founder of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khomeini, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, and legendary General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a 2020 US terrorist attack in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, as well as the martyrs of the Revolution.
The flight of colored balloons and iridescent papers from the Azadi Tower, the performance of professional parachutists of the Armed Forces and the mass recital of Iran’s national anthem were among the celebratory events held in the Azadi Square.
On the eve of the 44th anniversary, fireworks displays were performed in Tehran and other cities at 9:00 p.m. overnight, as people chanted Allahu Akbar (God is the Greatest) in an expression of support for the Islamic Revolution.
Covered by 6,000 media personnel across the country, the foot processions, which came after three years of motorcade marches due to the coronavirus pandemic, were held in 1,400 Iranian cities and 38,000 villages.
The mass rallies on the 22nd of Bahman in the Solar Calendar, which corresponds with February 11, are held each year with tremendous patriotic fervor in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Iranian nation overthrew the despotic regime of Pahlavi, which was fully supported by the United States in the winter of 1979. The struggle against the shah regime reached full fruition on February 11, 1979.
By December 1978, millions of Iranians had taken to the streets in protest against the policies of the shah – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi – on a regular basis.
Imam Khomeini returned to Iran from exile on February 1, 1979. He was received by millions of people weeks after the departure of the shah in mid-January 1979.
The collapse of the Pahlavi regime became certain on February 11 when the military renounced its loyalty to the shah and joined the Revolution.
Raeisi: Bahman 22nd day of victory of ‘truth over falsity’
Delivering a speech at the Azadi Square, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi lauded the 22nd of Bahman as the day of the triumph of “truth over falsity,” the day of the victory of “the oppressed over the arrogant,” and the realization of the “miracle of the century.”
Raeisi said the epic day put an end to tyranny and dependence and marked the beginning of independence, freedom and the Islamic Republic, adding that the day brought about the crystallization of the will of the great nation of Iran.
Stressing that both the establishment and the continuation of the Pahlavi regime was against the nation’s will and accompanied with a coup d'état, the Iranian president said, “They committed crimes and treason during their rule, and they were unconcerned about [Iranian people’s] great capacities, and only cared for the pleasure of the global hegemony and the United States."
“Pahlavi's despotic rule only brought backwardness to this nation and country,” Raeisi added, “They came to power against the principles of the Constitution and with a coup.”
‘Enemy cannot stand Iran’s achievements’
Pointing to the country’s achievements in various areas, including science and technology, economy, defense, health and medicine, Raeisi said, “Today, we rank first in the region in many fields and we are in the fourth, fifth and sixth place in many arenas in the world. This is for our self-discovery, self-confidence, and reliance on God. Our dear nation has conquered many peaks but the enemy cannot stand it.”
The president said when the enemy saw that the country was progressing in all fields and was not stalled, they started hatching another plot and thought that they could stop the country with chaos.
“They implemented the chaos project and thought that they could bring the country to a standstill with turmoil, and for this reason, they launched a hybrid war in this field,”
Raeisi noted, referring to the recent violent riots after the mid-September death of a woman in Tehran.
“They initiated a combined work in the form of a political, economic, media, psychological and perceptual warfare, unaware that the Iranian nation knows them and their tricks.”
The president underlined, “Today, despite the threats and sanctions, Islamic Iran enjoys the growth of fixed capital, investment growth, economic growth, and growth in other indices.”
Iran in ‘claimant’ position in nuclear issue
Elsewhere in his speech, Raeisi said Iran stands in the position of a “claimant” in the nuclear issue, adding, “We have accepted the inspections of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and these inspections continue. The agency has for 15 times announced that Iran has no involvement in nuclear activities, but this is you who have a nuclear warhead, you have a nuclear bomb, and you are in the position of the accused.”
Pointing to the fight against terrorism, Raeisi said Iran is also in the position of the claimant, noting, “You formed, supported and armed Daesh; and scourged the lives of Muslim people, but the Islamic Republic sacrificed dear General Soleimani in the fight against Daesh. You are the accused and must be held accountable to the world and humanity.”
The Iranian president also touched on the issue of Palestine and Afghanistan, saying, “Seventy years of oppression of the Palestinian people as well as 35,000 disabled children is the result of your presence in Afghanistan…You committed crimes and acted against human rights, you must answer why you violated human rights so much.”