Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Iran, including the capital Tehran, on Saturday to protest Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip and call for an immediate cease-fire, Anadolu Agency reports.
The nationwide rallies were held “in support of the oppressed children of Gaza” under the slogan, “Palestine is not alone,” as people marched with banners and posters condemning the Gaza war.
The largest demonstration was held at Enghelab Square, a busy thoroughfare in the capital Tehran, where thousands of people chanted vociferous slogans against Israel and in support of Gazans.
The death toll in Israeli attacks on the besieged coastal strip since Oct. 7, when the Palestinian group Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, has crossed 12,000, more than half of them being women and children.
Demonstrators in the Tehran rally, many of them children, chanted slogans and performed songs and skits to express support and solidarity with the children in Gaza.
“Down with Israel,” “Down with America,” “End the Genocide,” and “Death to Child Murderers” were among the banners waved during the rally.
Many senior government officials, including Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, Justice Minister Amin Hossein Rahimi, and Culture Minister Mohammad Mehdi Esmaili also took part in the rally.
Gen. Hossein Salami, chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said Palestine is “on the path of war of attrition” and Israel will face “a definitive defeat.”
Palestine, he said, is “not just a land but an expanded nation in the heart of the whole world,” adding that Israel will “go to the dustbin of history” after facing defeat in the Gaza Strip.
He also lashed out at the US, saying the country is “more isolated in the world today than ever before” and held it directly responsible for the Israeli war against Palestinians in Gaza.
“Revenge of Muslims against oppressors has no expiration date and is a long story,” Salami said, without specifying whether Iran plans to join the war that is now into its seventh week.
Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, have in recent weeks warned against “expansion of the theatre of war” beyond Gaza.
Amir-Abdollahian on Friday again warned against an “unavoidable” expansion of the Gaza war if Israel continues its attacks on Palestinians in the besieged territory.
In a post on X on Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani slammed the Israeli military raid on Al-Shifa Hospital, terming it yet another sign of Israel’s “brutality” against Gazans.
“After the failure of the Israeli regime authorities to prove their false claims about Al-Shifa Hospital, its army resumed its attacks on other hospitals in Gaza,” he wrote.