Iranians rally to mark revolution

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks dialogue with US based on mutual respect.

    Ayatollah Khomeini 's return from exile in 1979 sparked the revolution that toppled the Shah [AFP]

    "The Iranian nation is ready to hold talks but talks in a fair atmosphere with mutual respect."

    In depth

    A series of reports and videos on modern Iran

    Ahmadinejad lauded the revolution, which toppled the Shah.

    "The Iranian revolution, although it started in Iran and is the core of the Iranian nation, it belongs to all nations anywhere in the world," he said.

    "The Iranian revolution has brought great results. Over the past 30 years, Iran has been moving to the top. It has increased its speed in the fields of scientific research.

    "Because of suppression and relying on a foreign country, the scientific research work had not been developing," Ahmadinejad said, referring to US and Western sanctions imposed on Iran.

    Iranian perspective

    Seyed Mohammed Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, told Al Jazeera: "The people burning the US flag shows how angry they are at the US. [US president Barack] Obama says Iran should change, but Iran sees it the other way round.

    "Hundreds of thousands of American troops surround Iran, not the other way round. America has imposed sanctions that have ruined the economy. They [Iranians] do not yet trust this administration."

    In video

    Iranian leader ready to reopen dialogue with US

    Sadegh Zibakalam, a political science professor also at the University of Tehran, said a possible thawing of relations with the US would depend on the outcome of Iran's presidential election to be held in six months.

    "That [the election] is one of the most important presidential elections that we have ... had for the last three decades," he said.

    "In most of the other elections the results were more or less a foregone conclusion, but in this one it's very difficult to predict."

    While acknowledging that it is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, who effectively vets presidential candidates, Zibakalam said Khamenei would not "insist on animosity and hostility towards the United States".

    Atomic weapons

    Washington and many Western nations accuse Tehran of covertly seeking to develop atomic weapons, a charge Iran denies.

    Each year, Iran commemorates the uprising and victory of the revolution on February 11, 1979. This year the anniversary falls on February 10 because it is a leap year on the Iranian calendar.

    For the past 10 days Tehran has been festooned with flags to mark the return from exile in France on February 1, 1979, of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic. His return led to the revolution.

    The Islamic Republic was proclaimed on April 1, 1979, and its constitution was adopted in a referendum on December 12 the same year.

    Iranian television has been broadcasting archive footage of the revolution daily.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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