Rouhani says Iran to continue expanding its military might, missile work

Iranians mark anniversary of victory day in 1979 revolution

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers, militia members in camouflage fatigues, clerics, and ordinary citizens flocked to the streets of other Iranian cities and towns to commemorate February 11, 1979, when followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ousted a US -backed monarch, Shah Reza Pahlavi.

Many people carried pictures of Khomeini, who died in 1989, and Iran's current Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Life-size replicas of Iranian-made cruise and ballistic missiles stood in a statement of defiance after the United States previous year reimposed sanctions following its withdrawal from a deal on Tehran´s nuclear programme. "Now it´s up to the Iranian regime to change its behavior, & ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine the direction of their country", John Bolton tweeted.

"It has been moving forward over the past 40 years and making Iran stronger".

The large turnout at these state-sponsored rallies comes as Iranians faces rising prices and food shortages which have triggered waves of protests.

"I do not ignore the threats of the Iranian regime but neither am I intimidated by them", Netanyahu said in a statement and video issued by his office as Iran celebrated the 40th anniversary of its revolution.

Crowds were marching on Monday, heading out from a dozen points in the Iranian capital toward Tehran Azadi, or Freedom Square.

Prices of basic foodstuffs, particularly meat, have soared since President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the 2015 nuclear deal a year ago and reimposed economic sanctions.

"I bow in admiration to Iran's resilient people who - despite hardships and grievances - today poured into streets by the millions to mark 40th anniv of their Islamic Revolution, which some in the United States wished would never come", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted.

In January, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran was facing its worst economic crisis since the Shah was toppled.

But he remained defiant on Monday as Iranians recalled the end of a monarch who catered to the rich.

"The Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties but we will overcome the problems by helping each other", he said.

The Israeli prime minister's comments came in direct response to IRGC political affairs spokesman Yadollah Javani, who warned earlier on Monday that Iran would attack Israel if threatened by Washington. They saw the revolution as the starting gun in a competition to push out the strongman Arab nationalism that had taken hold across the Middle East.

"If this regime makes the terrible mistake of trying to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, it will not succeed", he said.

"The world saw when Iran made a decision to help people of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Yemen, they achieved victory".

Elsewhere, the head of the elite Quds Force of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, attended the rally in the southern city of Kerman.

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