Tehran, 11 February 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami today called on the United States to change its policy towards Iran, amid heightened U.S. criticism of the Islamic republic. Khatami was speaking to a crowd of more than 100,000 people gathered in Tehran to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution. He said that Iran would not allow any country to insult it with what he called "hostile and baseless accusations."
U.S. President George W. Bush last month accused Iran of being on an "axis of evil" with Iraq and North Korea. U.S. officials have also accused Iran of trying to destabilize Afghanistan's interim government. Iranian officials have denied the charges.
Hundreds of thousands of people today took part in state-organized rallies throughout Iran which, although intended to mark the anniversary of the Islamic revolution, turned into anti-U.S. protests.
The rallies drew support from both Iranian hard-liners and reformists.