To commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Islamic revolution, tens of thousands of Iranians poured into the streets of Tehran and other cities on February 11. According to Iran's local media, rallies took place 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'. The celebration also took place against a backdrop of escalating tension with the United States.
According to reports, missiles were also put on display as part of the anniversary celebrations and Irans' state TV even showed archival footage of missile launches and the underground missile storage facilities as part of its anniversary coverage. However, it was further reported that the missile program is not intended for attacks on neighbouring countries.
US-Iran tensions have skyrocketed ever since Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal back in 2018 and last year Trump also reimposed all sanctions that had been lifted under the landmark 2015 deal. On January 8, Iran further fired multiple missiles on Iraqi military bases housing the US troops and called it it's retaliation to Qassem Soleimani's killing. The latest surge in tensions has also prompted calls for de-escalation from the international community that fears a wider conflict in the Middle East.
The United States' interference in Iran dates back to 1950s when it helped overthrow a democratic leader in a coup. However, the relationship between Iran and the US saw a glimmer of hope during the second term of the Obama administration when the former US President started negotiations with Iran's new President Hassan Rouhani.
In 2015, Iran reached a historic nuclear deal with P5+1 group which included the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany. Iran, under the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed to limit sensitive nuclear activities in lieu of lifting economic sanctions.
However, President Donald Trump in May 2018 withdrew from the nuclear deal accusing Iran of violating the terms of JCPOA and followed it with crippling economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The bilateral relationship has been vulnerable since then, with Trump pressuring other countries to impose sanctions on Iran. In December last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the country is ready to hold nuclear talks with the United States on the condition that they lift the “unlawful” sanctions.