Timeline: Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the 40 years that followed

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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 USA -backed monarch, Shah Reza Pahlavi.

On Feb. 11, 1979 Iran's army declared its neutrality, paving the way for the fall of USA -backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

State television offered blanket coverage of the commemorations, showing marchers in cities ranging from Abadan in south-western Iran to Mashad in the northeast, all joined in fervent denunciations of both the US and Israel.

The European Union has also criticized Iran over its "destabilizing" ballistic-missile program, its "hostile activities" in several EU member states, and its meddling in countries in the Middle East.

Iran displayed its ballistic missile capabilities during Tehran rally, parading two missiles capable of reaching up to 800 kilometres.

On Feb. 11 that year, Iran's military stood down after days of street battles, allowing the revolutionaries to sweep across the country while the government of USA -backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi resigned and the Islamic Republic was born.

And he vowed to overcome US efforts to isolate Tehran.

"40 years of corruption".

"What a 40 years it's been".

The state has played up this year's anniversary as 40 is symbolic of maturity in the Islamic tradition and the age at which Prophet Mohammed received revelations from God. "The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure", he wrote.

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'The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future, ' he added.

The large turnout came as Iranians face rising prices, food shortages and high inflation that have triggered waves of protests.

Ten days after Islamic clerical opposition leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile in Paris on a special Air France charter, the royal reign collapsed and he became the country's supreme leader.

Reuters could not independently verify the pictures.

Life-size replicas of Iranian-made cruise and ballistic missiles stood in a statement of defiance after the USA a year ago reimposed sanctions following its withdrawal from a deal on Tehran's nuclear programme.

In his address on Tehran's Azadi Square, Rohani said the "enemy will never reach its evil objectives", vowing that Iran will defeat US sanctions.

"Perhaps worst of all, the people of Iran have suffered grievously". But he remained defiant as Iranians recalled the end of a monarch who catered to the rich and unleashed secret police on dissenters.

Later that year, Iranian militants took dozens of people hostage at the US Embassy in Tehran, sparking the first round of sanctions from Washington and causing a lasting rupture in countries' relations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu termed the navy's strength "impressive", a day after he said he was unimpressed by Iran's threats against Israel.

Yadollah Javani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' deputy head for political affairs, said Iran would demolish cities in Israel if the United States attacked. He said, "The United States does not have the courage to shoot a single bullet at us". "But if they attack us, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground", Brig.

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