Iran’s president has insisted “enemy” plots against the country will fail and called President Donald Trump an “idiot” as vast crowds marked 40 years since the Islamic revolution.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians, including soldiers, students, clerics and chador-clad women holding small children, marched through the capital in freezing rain on Monday to mark the anniversary.
State television showed crowds carrying Iranian flags in cold rainy weather, shouting “Death to Israel, Death to America” – trademark chants of the revolution – as well as burning US flags and carrying portraits of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Shia cleric who toppled the Shah in an Islamic uprising that still haunts the west.
The Times reported that the crowds also chanted “Death to Theresa May”.
“The presence of people today on the streets all over Islamic Iran … means that the enemy will never reach its evil objectives,” a defiant President Hassan Rouhani told those thronging Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square, decrying a “conspiracy” involving Washington.
A pre-prepared resolution was read out ahead of Rouhani’s speech that proclaimed “unquestioning obedience to the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei” and called Trump an “idiot”.
In a tweet written on the anniversary that he also sent out in Farsi, Trump said the revolution had been a complete failure.
“40 years of corruption. 40 years of repression. 40 years of terror. The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure. The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future,” he posted in both English and Farsi.
The routes leading up to the square in Tehran were packed with people as loudspeakers blared revolutionary anthems and slogans. Life-size replicas of Iranian-made cruise and ballistic missiles stood in a statement of defiance after the US last year reimposed sanctions following its withdrawal from a deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme.