Iranians mark anniversary of victory day in 1979 revolution

MGN

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Waving Iranian flags, chanting "Death to America" and burning U.S. and Israeli flags, hundreds of thousands of people poured out onto the streets across Iran on Monday, marking the date that's considered victory day in the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
On Feb. 11 that year, Iran's military stood down after days of street battles, allowing the revolutionaries to sweep across the country while the government of U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi resigned and the Islamic Republic was born.
In Tehran, despite the rain, crowds streamed in from the capital's far-flung neighborhoods to mass in the central Azadi, or Freedom, Square, waving Iranian flags and chanting "Death to America" -- standard fare at rallies across Iran.
Chants of "Death to Israel" and "Death to Britain" followed, and demonstrators burned U.S. and Israeli flags. Iranian state TV, which said millions participated in the celebrations, ran archive footage of the days of the uprising and played revolutionary songs. It later broadcast footage showing crowds across the country of 80 million.
The 6-mile-long downtown Enghelab, or Revolution, Street was decorated with huge balloons as loudspeakers blared out revolutionary and nationalist songs.
Every year, the anniversary festivities start on Feb. 1 -- the day Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from France after 14 years in exile to become the supreme leader as Shiite clerics took power. The celebrations continue for 10 days, climaxing on Feb. 11.



 
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