Chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” hundreds of thousands of pro-regime Iranians rallied on Friday to renew allegiance to the clerical establishment and commemorate the 38th anniversary of the country’s Islamic Revolution, Iranian state-run media reported. Images published in Fars News Agency, an outlet affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.), showed most senior civilian and military Iranian leaders had answer Supreme Leader Ali Khameni’s call to participate in the march and demonstrate their defiance of the United States – including Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, President Hassan Rouhani and senior members of the cabinet and parliament.
Speaking at a rally in Tehran, Rouhani said: “This turnout is a response to false remarks by the new rulers in the White House and the people are telling the world through their presence that the Iranian people must be spoken to with respect.” He added: “Iranians will make those using threatening language against this nation regret it.”
The organizers of the Revolution Day rallies also issued a statement that called the United States “number one enemy” of Iran and stressed that the Islamic Republic is ready to wage a “greater jihad” to defend Iran against foreign threats.
Tasnim News Agency, another I.R.G.C. mouthpiece, wrote that the revolution rallies demonstrated that “the Islamic Republic of Iran’s security is not open for negotiation and dialogue” – referring to international demands that Iran halt its controversial ballistic missile activity that Washington says violates the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. Other pictures from the rallies posted on the Iranian media showed effigies of President Trump being hanged in a mock execution. Kayhan, a hardline outlet whose editor is directly appointed by Khamenei, wrote that the rallies showed the Islamic Republic was not deterred by the “Great Satan” – referring to the United States.
Comment: Today’s mass rallies in Tehran and other Iranian cities show that the Iranian regime remains staunchly anti-America and anti-Israel, almost four decades after Ruhollah Khomeini toppled the country’s Shah and Iranian revolutionaries stormed Iranian embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. The event also highlights the fact that despite their differences in domestic affairs, Iranian leaders – both the so-called moderates and hardliners – share anti-American sentiment and support the clerical establishment that has ruled the Iranian people through repression and despotism over the past 38 years. President Rouhani, for example, called on revolutionary marchers today to “show their unbreakable ties” with the Supreme Leader and blasted U.S. “war-mongering.” But the Iranian president did not take a moment to criticize the country’s repressive judicial and intelligence authorities for committing appalling acts of human rights abuses against ordinary Iranians. Nor did he call for the release of scores of political prisoners languishing in Iranian jails, or criticize the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.)’s destabilizing activities in the region.