Iran Marks 41 Years of Islamic Revolution
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians marked 41years since the Islamic Revolution in the country as tensions with the U.S. andthe world remain high.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke inTehran's Azadi Square Tuesday to denounce the United States. He also called onpeople to vote in upcoming elections. Last month, Iran's Guardian Councilbarred thousands of candidates from running, including about 90 currentlawmakers.
Iran considers many people voting inelections a show of confidence in the country's cleric rulers. Rouhani told acrowd, "We should not withdraw from the ballot boxes."
However, a number of recent incidents haveadded to continued international pressure on the nation of more than 84 millionpeople. Iran remains under international sanctions after the U.S. withdrew in2018 from an international agreement meant to limit Iran's nuclear weaponsprogram.
The administration of U.S. President DonaldTrump objected to the deal. Officials said it did little to prevent Iran fromdeveloping nuclear materials or missiles.
Early this year, the commander of theRevolutionary Guard's Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a U.S. strikein Baghdad. Large gatherings for his funeral, however, were marred by Iran'sshooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet. One hundred seventy-six people werekilled. The Iranian government then refused for days to admit that it had shotdown the plane with missiles. Iran and Ukraine continue to dispute theinvestigation of the downed airplane.
In November, Iranians blocked traffic inmajor cities to protest an increase of 50 percent in government-set gasolineprices. The government reacted with a campaign against protesters. The humanrights group Amnesty International said that more than 300 people were killedin the unrest. The government did not release the number of deaths, butlawmakers said thousands of people were detained.
Tensions increased again in January afterthe killing of Soleimani, who had been linked to the use of roadside bombs usedto attack American soldiers in Iraq. The Quds Force that he led is alsoinvolved in Middle East conflicts in Syria, Yemen and other places.
The Islamic Revolution in Iran began afterShah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fled the country in January 1979. Islamic clericAyatollah Ruhollah Khomeini then returned from exile in Paris to become thecountry's leader.
In November of that year, Iranians, angrythat the Shah was receiving medical treatment in the U.S., seized the U.S.embassy and took more than 50 hostages. Iran held the hostages for more thanone year before releasing them in early 1981.
I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.