TEHRAN, Feb 11- Hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets Tuesday to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, buoyed by progress in nuclear talks with world powers and a modest easing of sanctions.
In Tehran, huge crowds thronged central Azadi square ahead of a speech by President Hassan Rouhani, the relative moderate who has reached out to the West since taking office in August.
Many of them railed against the United States, still regarded by the Iranians as the “Great Satan”.
“We don’t trust America. All they want is to plunder our wealth”, a 20-year-old Bassij (Islamic militia) member told AFP.
“We are fine with enduring the hardships (of international sanctions) because it will lead to the preservation of our rights,” he added as he joined the Tehran crowds.
The 35th anniversary of the revolution that ousted the US-backed Shah — and set in motion Iran’s international isolation — comes as Tehran rides the wave of a landmark nuclear deal with major powers.
Under the November accord, Tehran agreed to curb parts of its atomic drive for six months in exchange for marginal relief from international sanctions.
Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers are due to resume nuclear talks next week in Vienna on a comprehensive agreement to allay international concerns Iran is seeking nuclear weapons capability.
In parallel, Iran also made progress over the weekend with the UN nuclear watchdog by agreeing to divulge information that could shed light on allegations of possible past weapons research.
Under a deal reached in Tehran with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran will explain its need for sophisticated detonators that could be used to initiate a nuclear chain reaction.
Rouhani, who has the support of reformists, insisted on Monday that Iran was “serious” about negotiations on a comprehensive deal with the P5+1 powers — The United States, China, Britain, France, Russia and Germany.
“Iran is ready to enter negotiations with the P5+1 to reach a comprehensive and final agreement,” he told Tehran-based foreign diplomats.
“We are serious in this regard,” he said.