Meanwhile the country’s President, Hassan Rouhani, has said the country needs to feel as if it is in a “war situation”, vowing never to “give in” in the face of US sanctions. Mr Khamenei, who succeeded Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after his death in 1989, praised Iran’s “glorious and mighty” revolution, which he claimed had heralded a “new era”. At the time, both superpowers, the USA and the USSR, had opposed the uprising, Mr Khamenei said.
He added: “Today, after forty annual celebrations of the victory of the Revolution, one of the two centres of animosity has already perished, and the second one is struggling with predicaments that signal its death in the near future.
“Whereas, the Islamic Revolution is advancing while preserving and adhering to its mottos.
“It has not committed any of extremist and deviated acts that have marked many other uprisings and movements with stigma.
“In no conflicts — not even against the United States or Saddam Hussein – did it ever shoot the first bullet and, in all cases, it defended itself after the enemy’s attack.
“Since its inception, this Revolution has never been merciless nor has it ever shed blood.
“It has neither been passive nor hesitant.
“Standing assertively and courageously against bullies and thugs, it has defended the oppressed.”
Mr Rouhani, speaking during a cabinet meeting today, said: “We should all feel that we are in a war situation.”
Hailing the 40th anniversary celebrations on Monday, he added: “This nation will once again stand for its dignity, independence and prestige and it’s not ready to surrender itself to the enemy, as surrendering to the enemy has no end.
“If the Iranian nation gives in to the US we should give up our dignity, independence and identity as well.”
Relations between Tehran and Washington have been dire ever since the 1979 revolution which saw the US’s key regional ally, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ousted from power.
The situation has deteriorated still further since the election of President Donald Trump.
Last year after he pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) aimed at preventing Iran building nuclear weapons, citing alleged violations.
Mr Trump has also imposed sanctions on Iran, while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has branded Mr Rouhani’s regime a “mafia” and encouraged pro-democracy demonstrations last year.
In July last year, Mr Trump let fly on social media after Mr Rouhani said America’s oil exports crackdown risked starting “the mother of all wars”.
In an early morning tweet, he warned: “To Iranian President Rouhani: never, ever, threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”