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Thousands rally in Iran against Trump as Rouhani slams 'threats' from US

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians slam Donald Trump while marking anniversary of revolution
Thousands of Iranians protested against Donald Trump's presidency (screengrab)

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied across Iran on Friday to swear allegiance to the clerical establishment as Iran's president warned Friday that those using "threatening language" against Tehran would regret it.

Hassan Rouhani, speaking at a march commemorating the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed Shah, hit out at the new US administration of President Donald Trump, who has made increasingly provocative comments against Iran since taking office.

"This turnout is a response to false remarks by the new rulers in the White House and the people are telling the world through their presence that the Iranian people must be spoken to with respect," Rouhani said.

"Iranians will make those using threatening language against this nation regret it."

Carrying "Death to America" banners and effigies of Trump, Iranians in Tehran marched towards the Azadi (Freedom) Square.

Iran's most powerful authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had on Tuesday called on Iranians to take part in the demonstrations to show Iran was not frightened of American "threats."

"America and Trump cannot do a damn thing. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our leader Khamenei," a young Iranian man told state TV.

Last week Trump put Iran "on notice" in reaction to a 29 January Iranian missile test and imposed fresh sanctions on individuals and entities. Iran said it will not halt its missile programme.

State television said millions turned out nationwide at revolution rallies in all main cities marked by the traditional anti-US and anti-Israel slogans and the burning of US flags.

On social media, like Twitter and Facebook, many Iranians used the hashtag of #LoveBeyondFlags, urging an end to flag-burning during the anniversary.

They also thanked Americans for opposing Trump's executive order banning travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries, including Iran. Trump's travel ban is being challenged in US courts.

Both US-based social media sites are blocked in Iran by a wide-reaching government censor but they are still commonly used by millions of Iranians who use special software to get around the restrictions. Iranian officials, including Khamenei, have Twitter and Facebook accounts despite the ban.

Trump has criticised a nuclear deal reached between Iran, the United States and other major powers in 2015 aimed at curbing the country's nuclear work.

Most of the sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted last year under the deal, however US financial sanctions has denied Iranians access to the international banking system, preventing access to global markets and dampening the impact of the lifting of sanctions.

Muslim ban suspension upheld

The rally comes after US federal appeals court panel on Thursday unanimously upheld a temporary suspension of Trump's order that restricted travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The ruling came in a challenge to Trump's order filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota. The US Supreme Court will likely determine the case's final outcome.

"We hold that the government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury," the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled.

The ruling from the federal appeals court on the contentious ban, which was issued on 27 January with no prior warning and suspended a week later, comes just three weeks into Trump's presidency.

The White House said it had no immediate comment but on Twitter, Trump said in all caps: "See you in court, the security of the nation is at stake."

"We'll see them in court," Trump told reporters who had gathered outside his press secretary's office. "It's a political decision."

The president said he did not view the ruling as a major setback for his White House.

"This is just a decision that came down, but we're going to win the case," he said.

Reactions have poured in on social media. The Washington state attorney general's Twitter account wrote "Denied" and "Unanimous" in all caps in response to Trump's tweet.

Sahar Aziz, a law professor at Texas A&M University, said the Ninth Circuit Court sent a clear message that Trump’s victory in November "did not translate into a blank check to run roughshod on the Constitution".

"No one is above the law, including the president of the United States," Aziz said.

She added that the court found that hundreds of people, including legal residents, from the seven banned countries were harmed by Trump’s order without being afforded due process, a right granted by the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

"In its proper role as a check on executive action that may violate the US Constitution, the court applied the legal standard associated with the validity of temporary restraining orders,” Aziz told Middle East Eye in an email.

“After carefully examining whether the states of Washington and Minnesota would likely win their Fifth Amendment constitutional claims on the merits, the court upheld the temporary injunction on Trump's executive order."

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