Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have rallied across Iran today carrying effigies of US President Donald Trump and chanting ‘Death to America’.
The huge crowds responded to a call from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called on citizens to demonstrate that Iran is not frightened of American ‘threats’.
Trump declared that he has put the Islamic Republic ‘on notice’ and Iran is one of seven countries on the administration’s ‘travel ban’ list, which is being challenged in US courts.
Demonstrators in Tehran marched towards the Azadi ( Freedom) Square to commemorate the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed shah.
A young Iranian man told state TV: ‘America and Trump cannot do a damn thing. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our leader Khamenei.’
Following an Iranian missile test on January 29, Trump imposed fresh sanctions on individuals and entities. Iran said it will not halt its missile programme.
Pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani also called on Iranians to join the rally on Friday to ‘show their unbreakable ties with the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic’.
State television said millions turned out nationwide at revolution rallies in all main cities marked by the traditional anti-US and anti-Israel slogans and the burning of US and Israeli flags.
On social media, like Twitter and Facebook, many Iranians used the hashtag of #LoveBeyondFlags, urging an end to flag-burning during the anniversary.
Both US-based social media sites are blocked in Iran by a wide-reaching government censor but they are still commonly used by millions of Iranians who use special software to get around the restrictions. Iranian officials, including Khamenei, have Twitter and Facebook accounts despite the ban.
Last weekend, new Pentagon chief James Mattis described Iran as ‘the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world’.