US slams Iranian revolution for 40 years of failure as Rouhani threatens military expansion

Iranian Revolutionary Guard members arrive for a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. (AP)
Updated 12 February 2019
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US slams Iranian revolution for 40 years of failure as Rouhani threatens military expansion

  • The Iranian president said Iran does not need permission to develop their militaristic capabilities
  • Rouhani says Iran determined to expand its military power and ballistic missile program

WASHINGTON: Iran’s Islamic revolution four decades ago has been a complete failure for the country, President Donald Trump said Monday.

In a tweet written on the anniversary of the upheaval that was also sent out in Farsi, Trump said: “40 years of corruption. 40 years of repression. 40 years of terror. The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure.

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

Earlier, Trump’s chief foreign policy adviser John Bolton issued a similar statement, tweeting that “it’s been 40 yrs of failure. Now it’s up to the Iranian regime to change its behavior, & ultimately up to the Iranian people to determine the direction of their country.”

Bolton said Washington would support “the will of the Iranian people, & stand behind them to ensure their voices are heard.”

Bolton, a leading hawk in the Trump administration’s attempt to weaken Iranian influence, was tweeting as a huge crowd in Tehran gathered to celebrate the 1979 revolution, in which Muslim leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini ended the centuries-old rule of the royal dynasty.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Iranians they should resist a “conspiracy” involving Washington.

Rouhani also vowed Iran would defeat US sanctions, reimposed after Trump withdrew from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers last year. “The Iranian people have and will have some economic difficulties (due to the sanctions) but we will overcome the problems by helping each other,” Rouhani said.

The Trump administration has pushed hard to weaken Iran and what it says is Tehran’s “destabilizing” influence.

The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since 1980, and Trump has pulled the United States from an international agreement meant to reward Iran for giving up nuclear weapon ambitions.


Retired Lebanese soldiers in tense standoff with army during benefit cuts protest

Updated 2 min 14 sec ago
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Retired Lebanese soldiers in tense standoff with army during benefit cuts protest

  • Dressed in military uniforms, large numbers of veterans attempted to force their way through barricades set up to stop demonstrators reaching the city’s parliament building where a final vote on a controversial draft austerity budget was taking place
  • The meeting to vote on the 2019 draft budget came after a marathon three days of discussions

BEIRUT: Retired Lebanese soldiers on Friday came close to clashing with the country’s army when weeks of protests over planned benefit cuts reached boiling point in the capital Beirut.
Dressed in military uniforms, large numbers of veterans attempted to force their way through barricades set up to stop demonstrators reaching the city’s parliament building where a final vote on a controversial draft austerity budget was taking place.
A military source told Arab News that the Lebanese army leadership had decided to block access to Najma Square, in Beirut’s Central District, where Parliament members were sitting.
But former soldiers, joined by the parents of army martyrs and activists from the Sabaa and Communist parties, surrounded the building in nearby streets before attempting to push through barbed wire, concrete and metal barriers erected by the Lebanese army and the Internal Security Forces.
The protesters, waving Lebanese and army flags, got as far as the entrance to Maarad Street, on which Parliament is located, putting them in direct confrontation with the Lebanese troops.
Ten brigades of reinforcements were drafted in to help push back the veterans before protest leaders eased tensions by calling for a retreat to a nearby square to avoid any further clashes.
The meeting to vote on the 2019 draft budget came after a marathon three days of discussions. Before entering the parliamentary session, Lebanese Minister of Defense Elias Bou Saab said that “misleading the retired soldiers” would be “harmful to the image and demands of the protesters” and called on them to carry out “peaceful demonstrations.” He added that there had been mixed and confused messages regarding benefit cuts.
However, retired Brig. Gen. Georges Nader had vowed that protesters would not back off until the vote on their benefits was dropped.
Discussing the protests in Parliament, Samy Gemayel, president of the Phalange party, objected to the reduction in the army budget, to which Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said: “This has been concluded on the bases of an understanding with the army and the military establishment.”
MP Paula Yacoubian said that “retired soldiers are trying to storm Parliament,” to which Berri said: “Those who want to storm Parliament have not yet been born.”
The row had centered on a controversial article concerning amendments to the country’s income tax act, and Lebanese Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil insisted on defending it. He said: “It does not cost the retired soldiers, for instance, more than 3,000 Lebanese pounds ($2) per month. This amount rises to 400,000 pounds for brigadiers.” He added: “Which country in the world gives a retiree 85 percent of his salary?”
After a meeting between the minister and Nader in Parliament, the retired brigadier general went out to reassure the veterans that cuts from their salaries in respect of medicine and income tax would be reduced. Less intense protests continued for more than three hours before Parliament approved the relevant article in the budget.
Meanwhile, Berri had started the Parliament session by reading a resignation submitted by Hezbollah MP Nawaf Musawi.