Tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets in nationwide rallies on Friday to mark International Quds Day, an annual event to express solidarity with the people of Palestine, Anadolu News Agency reports.
This year’s rallies came after a two-year hiatus and saw the participation of top Iranian government and military officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi, Parliament Speaker, Mohammad Baqar Ghalibaf, Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) chief, Hossein Salami.
In the capital, Tehran, people marched on different streets, carrying posters and banners with pro-Palestine messages and chanting anti-Israel slogans, and converged around noon at Tehran University where top officials, including Salami, addressed the gathering.
In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Salami said the issue of Palestine is becoming “more prominent” in the global political arena, and reaching a point where attacks on Palestinians “doesn’t come without consequences” for Israel.
He said Palestinians are armed today and “ready to fight” against Israel, unlike before when they would be massacred.
He further said that “compromise with the oppressor” was “not a safe and free way to live,” in a swipe at countries that have normalised their relations with Tel Aviv.
In Friday’s rally in Tehran, two advanced home-grown missiles were put on display, including Emad, with a range of 1,700 kilometres (1,056 miles) and Kheibarshekan, with a range of 1,450 km (900 mi).
On Thursday, addressing a gathering of foreign diplomats in Iran, Raeisi said the normalisation of relations with Israel was likely to “provoke anger of nearly 2 billion Muslims” of the world.
He said the “usurping” Israel was a “serious threat to the Muslim ummah,” adding that support for the Palestinian nation serves as a “unifying” factor among people worldwide.
In a separate statement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Israel’s “crimes against Palestinians have placed a heavy burden on the shoulders of all Muslims and freedom-seekers of the world.”
The fight against Israel, it noted, is the “fight against global arrogance and hegemony,” and the Palestinians were legally entitled to put up resistance.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, in a Thursday phone call with Hissein Brahim Taha, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, welcomed the idea of holding a conference at the level of foreign ministers to discuss the latest developments in Palestine.
In a separate call with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Amirabdollahian asked Jeyhun Bayramov to use the country’s position as the rotating President of the Non-Aligned Movement to “stop the bloodshed in Palestine and take action against Israeli atrocities.”