Iran marks revolution anniversary amid multiple challenges

Al-Monitor – Iranians took to the streets nationwide Feb. 11 to hold mass state-organized demonstrations, celebrating yet another anniversary of the victory of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Western-backed monarchical rule of the shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Aside from the typical death slogans targeting the United States and Israel, this year’s anniversary turned into a memorial for Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, whose death in early January in an American drone strike nearly pushed Tehran and Washington to the brink of all-out war. The event coincided with the 40th day after the assassination, which the Islamic Republic says rallied Iranians behind the flag as Soleimani was a “soldier of the nation” and a nonpartisan figure.

Holding Soleimani portraits, demonstrators renewed calls for retaliation. Iran showered an American base with a barrage of missiles less than a week after the general’s slaying. While the Islamic Republic claimed the strikes killed up to 100 soldiers, the United States — in its last updated account — denied any deaths but admitted that at least 109 service members suffered “traumatic brain injuries.” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the missile attack as but “a slap,” and hard-line loyalists insist that true revenge will be exacted only after the United States is fully ousted from the Middle East.

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