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Tehran celebrates the 41st of the Islamic Revolution in the sign of the 'martyr' Soleimani


Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in memory of the Ayatollahs’ rise to power.  Demonstrations in 5 thousand towns and districts of the country.  Religion and politics paid tribute to the senior military officer and diplomat killed in a US raid in January.  Rouhani makes an appeal for votes ahead of elections.  But economic hardships remain for the population.

 

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Hundreds of thousands of Iranians, millions according to some sources, crowded the streets and squares of the country to celebrate the 41st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which marked the expulsion of the Sha and the rise to power  of the ayatollahs. 

The event falls in a context of strong international tensions and internal economic difficulties: from the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) to the introduction of sanctions, from the killing of Gen.  Qassem Soleimani to Tehran’s reprisal with the subsequent shooting down of the Ukrainian plane, many knots are still unsolved.

Iranian state media report that the demonstrations have affected over 5,000 cities, towns and districts scattered throughout the Islamic Republic.  In the capital, Tehran, the inhabitants gathered at the central Liberty Square (Azadi), where President Hassan Rouhani gave a speech to the crowd.

Religious and government leaders renamed the “Dawn of Soleimani” day, to celebrate the memory of the senior officer killed by a US drone raid in Baghdad in early January.  Defying the snow and the bitter cold, the population proudly displayed signs and posters with his image, loudly chanting his name.  Rouhani himself wanted a life-size photo of Soleimani on the stage next to his position, defined by the president as a “long-term diplomat”, to underline the multiple roles covered in recent years by one of the most authoritative and feared figures in the country.

During his speech Rouhani also took advantage of this to launch an appeal to vote, in anticipation of the next parliamentary elections scheduled in about ten days.  The celebrations were also an opportunity to show the military capabilities of the country, with a parade of latest generation missiles and weapons.  The missile program, however, stressed the president, has no offensive aims towards other nations in the region.

The crowd responded with traditional slogans and songs including “death to America” ​​and “death to Israel” and direct attacks on US President Donald Trump, the main architect of the sanctions policy and first signatory of the so-called Israeli-Pastinese “deal of the century”.  A plan that, according to most Iranians, must be rejected because it is the source of new violence and divisions.

On the eve of the demonstrations, the state media had re-launched the appeal of Hadi Khamenei brother of the supreme guide Ali Khamenei, who had invited the population to “unite” to protect the “security” of the country and the entire region.  “Participation in the event – he added – is a sign of unity”.  However, among the crowd there is no lack of criticism and disappointment for the difficult economic conditions facing the country, the scene of violence in the last few months of street protests.  Daily life is “hard” and “unpredictable” says Rana, a 20-year-old student of biology, because of “pollution, widespread popular discontent, skyrocketing prices”.  Added to this are “external isolation” and “profound internal disparities”.  The 47-year-old electrician Bahram Sobhani echoes this, confirming that “it is difficult to find work” and “you earn what you need just to survive”.





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