Anti-Israeli demonstrations sweep Iran


Tehran : Iran once again held annual nationwide anti-Israeli demonstrations on Friday with standard slogans “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” echoing throughout the country.

Support TwoCircles

The late leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had declared the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan to be “Quds Day,” intended to be a day to call for the liberation of Jerusalem from Israeli occupation.

After Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem – or Quds in Arabic – is the holiest place for the Muslims.

State television reported that hundreds of thousands would attend Friday’s state-organized Quds demonstrations.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and ex-president Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani were supposed to address the demonstrators at the Friday prayer ceremony at Tehran University.

Iran does not recognize Israel and insists on a referendum to clarify the geographic and political status of the “occupied territories of Palestine”. It also wants millions of Palestinian refugees to be allowed to vote in the referendum.

Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders have several times stressed that Iran would accept the outcome of the referendum “whatever it would be.”

The president said Wednesday that Iran had an “international mission” to stop Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East.

Last year’s Quds Day was overshadowed by Ahmadinejad’s plan to form a special group to investigate the real dimensions of the Holocaust, which he calls a “fairy tale.”

Ahmadinejad has also said he hopes that Palestinian militia groups would wipe Israel form the Islamic world map.

While the Holocaust investigation group was eventually never formed, Ahmadinejad has modified his Holocaust doubts in recent months and said that Iran’s opposition was solely towards “Zionism” and not Jews, therefore it was a political and not a racial issue.

To counter accusations of anti-Semitism against Iran, the Ahmadinjead administration started this year the construction of a new sports and cultural complex for the 25,000 Iranian Jews and even produced a television series the contents of which were similar to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film, “Schindler’s List”.