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Iran marks 25th anniversary of Islamic revolution

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 11, 2004 | 7:19 PM ET

Iranians gathered in the streets of Tehran Wednesday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Islamic revolution and the ousting of the Western-backed shah.

Chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel," the demonstrators marched through the streets carrying balloons and banners.

The Islamic Republic of Iran was proclaimed in 1979 after followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini drove the U.S.-backed Shah Reza Pahlavi into exile.

Under its conservative clerical rulers, Iran has drifted into international isolation.

Many at the demonstrations say they are concerned about the future of their country as high unemployment and rising inflation has driven thousands abroad.

And recently, a powerful council of conservatives barred thousands of parliamentary hopefuls from running for office in the Feb. 20 parliamentary elections, even though some were already sitting deputies.

Hamid Rahmani, 18, says he'd go anywhere if he could leave Iran.

"There's no point staying here. I'd go anywhere, Dubai, America, England, France," said Rahmani.

Iran has been making moves to improve its standing in the international community, including agreeing to allow surprise inspections of its nuclear facilities.

In the first visit of a British monarch since the revolution, Prince Charles spent Monday in Iran. He met with Iranian President Mohammed Khatami and toured the city of Bam, devastated by an earthquake in late December.

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