Thousands of Iranians mark revolution anniversary amid peak tensions with U.S.

Thousands of Iranians poured into the streets of Tehran on Tuesday to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, against a backdrop of escalating tensions with the U.S.

State TV showed video footage of rallies in at least half a dozen cities outside the capital, including Mashhad, Ahvaz and Kerman, with people holding signs that read, “Death to America’’ and “Death to Israel’’.

Iran almost got into a full-blown conflict with the U.S. after a U.S. drone strike killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting Iran to retaliate with a missile barrage against a U.S. base in Iraq days later.

Tensions spiked between Iran and the U.S. after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions in a bid to pressure Tehran to negotiate over its ballistic missile programme and ties with regional proxy groups.

According to the Tasnim news agency missiles were put on display as part of the anniversary celebrations.

Iran’s state TV showed archival footage of missile launches and underground missile storage facilities as part of its anniversary coverage.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the missile programme is not intended for attacks on neighboring countries.

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