Tehran: Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a speech on Holy City Day on Friday that Israel is “not a country, but a base of terrorism.” This is an annual solidarity with the Palestinians.
On that day, thousands of people gathered in several Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan, which was seen as an expression of hatred and anti-Semitism in Israel.
After a series of maritime attacks, the explosion of Iran’s nuclear facilities and the assassination of top Israeli nuclear scientists accused by Tehran of the assassination, tensions between Iran and Israel have been high.
The Islamic Republic does not recognize the Jewish state. Supporting the Palestinian cause and supporting armed groups such as Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah have long been the pillars of Iran’s foreign policy.
“Israel is not a country, but a terrorist base against the nation of Palestine and other Muslim nations,” Khamenei said in live televised remarks.
“Fighting this despotic regime is fighting oppression and terrorism, and (doing so) is everyone s duty,” he added.
Khamenei also blasted Israel s normalisation of ties with “some weak Arab governments” during the past year as attempts to undermine the Israeli “nightmare of Muslim unity”.
The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have all normalised ties with Israel in recent months under US-brokered deals.
“I say this decisively: these attempts will get nowhere,” Khamenei said, calling on Palestinians to continue their resistance and for Muslim governments to support them.
“The decline of the enemy Zionist regime has begun and will not stop.”
Elsewhere in the region, thousands of Yemenis flooded the streets of the capital Sanaa, which were occupied by Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents, some of which read: “Death in the United States, Died in Israel”.
In Najaf, the holy Shiite city of Iraq, demonstrators burned paper copies of the Israeli flag and trampled on an American flag.
At a rally in the Pakistani city of Karachi, protesters held up cardboard slogans that read “We will annihilate Israel” when they participated in Holy City Day.