In a live televised speech for Quds Day, Iran's supreme leader rebuked unnamed Arab states in the Persian Gulf for normalizing relations with Israel, saying they “have behaved treacherously and have brought disgrace to the Arab world.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated Iranian support for the Palestinian cause, adding that “the Islamic Republic supports the resistance camp. It advocates and supports the Palestinian Resistance. We have always said this, we have always acted on this, and we have stood by it.”
Quds Day, which means Jerusalem Day, is held annually the last Friday of Ramadan. Iran initiated this day of demonstrations, which typically includes burning of Israeli and American flags, following the Islamic Revolution in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and denounce Israel.
The supreme leader stressed that “the Zionist regime is out of breath,” and mocked “the most important supporter of Israel,” the United States.
“The United States of America, has suffered consecutive defeats in the war in Afghanistan, in its maximum pressure policy against Iran, in trying to control the economy of the world, in the internal management of its own affairs and the deep rift that has developed in the U.S. establishment,” Khamenei said. He also made the claim that America has been defeated by “Asian powers,” without specifying which powers.
As in every year, thousands of Iranian marched through the streets of the capital and headed to the Tehran University, where they celebrated the traditional hate-fest against Israel and called for the destruction of the Jewish State.
Demonstrators chanted “death to Israel” and “death to America,” as well as set fire to American, British and Israeli flags.
Several Iranian military commanders and politicians boasted about Iran's power and condemned regional countries for making peace with Israel. Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), broadcasted a statement addressed to Palestinians, in which he promised that “Israel will soon be wiped off the map.”
Iran’s hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, addressed the masses and praised Palestinian protesters who have recently clashed with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem.
“This great movement that we are witnessing today in the form of protests is a symbol of the solidarity of the Muslim people that will lead to the destruction of the Zionist regime,” he said, according to state-run outlet ISNA.
Raisi emphasized that “normalization of relations with Israel is tantamount to nurturing a snake up your sleeve.”
Similar rallies were held in other major cities, including Mashhad, Isfahan and Tabriz, as well as in Syria, Pakistan and Bahrain, according to the Times of Israel.
The U.S. and world powers have been working to restore the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Talks in Vienna have already exceeded the initial deadline set by U.S. President Joe Biden, but on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the U.S. will seek “a mutual return as long as it remains in our interest.”
While reports say the renewed agreement is ready to go, the last remaining sticking point in the negations concerns the status of the IRGC. Tehran demands that the organization be removed from the list of foreign terror organizations.
“The U.S. position has been that unless Iran agrees to take certain steps to assuage security concerns beyond the JCPOA, Washington will not lift the terror designation, which itself is beyond the JCPOA,” a U.S. official told Politico.
Following a phone call with Biden earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “I am sure that President Biden, who is a true friend of Israel and cares about its security, will not allow the IRGC to be removed from the list of terrorist organizations. Israel has clarified its position on the issue: The IRGC is the largest terrorist organization in the world.”
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.