Iranians would choose the Islamic Republic as they did in 1979 if given a choice today, claimed President Hassan Rouhani in a speech on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
February 11 marks the 41st anniversary of the 1979 revolution which led the current regime to power.
“If Iranians were to be given a choice today, they would choose the Islamic Republic again just like they did 41 years ago,” Rouhani said on Tuesday in Tehran.
“The Islamic revolution was based on a choice, the people chose a religious and democratic regime over a US-dependent and corrupt one,” he said.
“Iranians have a choice every year on the anniversary of the revolution to either stay at home or come to the street and pledge allegiance to the regime, and every year, they choose the latter,” Rouhani said.
State TV reported that tens of thousands of Iranians had poured into the streets of Tehran and other cities on Tuesday morning to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, against a backdrop of escalating tensions with the United States.
However, dissidents rejected the claims as overstated and posted videos of empty streets online.
Feb 11 - Tehran, #Iran— Heshmat Alavi (@HeshmatAlavi) February 11, 2020
Jomhouri (Republic) Avenue
While regime officials are claiming a "million man march" marking the 1979 revolution, video shows merely a few dozen people in the street.#41YearsOfFailure pic.twitter.com/NQlzwFgWEd
The Islamic Revolution has not only impacted Iran but the region and the whole world, he said, adding that the US and Israel have been Iran’s “biggest enemies” since the 1979 revolution.
“America’s mistake is that it thinks it is up against a regime or some politicians, when in reality it is up against 83 million Iranians,” said the Iranian President.
Iran almost got into a full-blown conflict with the United States last month after a US drone strike killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3, prompting Iran to retaliate with a missile barrage against a US base in Iraq days later.
Rouhani thanked the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for targeting US bases in Iraq last month, claiming that the attacks were demanded by the Iranian people.
“I thank the IRGC, the armed forces, and the Basij for listening to the people’s demands and avenging martyr Soleimani by attacking the Ain al-Assad base,” he said.
Rouhani described the slain military commander as “a senior and powerful diplomat as well as a military commander,” saying: “Both resistance and diplomacy are required.”
“America lies when it says Soleimani was looking for war and instability,” he said, claiming that the former head of the Quds Force brought about stability in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the whole region.
Rouhani also urged Iranians not to boycott the parliamentary elections scheduled for February 21, calling elections the country’s “saviour.”