Iranian FM to attend conference on Jerusalem in Istanbul
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Iranian FM to attend conference on Jerusalem in Istanbul

Zarif says recent tensions over Temple Mount again show 'Palestine is the top issue of the Muslim world'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif speaks during a joint press conference with his Georgian counterpart following their meeting in Tbilisi on April 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Vano Shlamov)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif speaks during a joint press conference with his Georgian counterpart following their meeting in Tbilisi on April 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/Vano Shlamov)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will attend an Organization of Islamic Cooperation meeting in Istanbul Tuesday on the recent tensions surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said that the “developments” in Jerusalem since the July 14 terror attack at the holy site necessitated an “urgent need” for Muslim countries to work together.

“Given the recent developments in the occupied territories and increasing pressure on the Palestinian people, especially in Qods [Arabic name for Jerusalem], an urgent need is felt for cooperation among Islamic countries,” the Mehr news Agency quoted Bahram Ghasemi as saying.

“Muslim countries should never forget that regardless of certain disagreements, Palestine is the top issue of the Muslim world,” he added, according to Iranian Press TV.

Iranians carry signs and chant anti-Israel slogans at a demonstration after Friday prayers in the capital Tehran on July 28, 2017 against Israeli security measures implemented at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. (AFP/Stringer)
Iranians carry signs and chant anti-Israel slogans at a demonstration after Friday prayers in the capital Tehran on July 28, 2017 against Israeli security measures implemented at the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. (AFP/Stringer)

Following the July 14 attack, in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two police officers using weapons smuggled into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel placed new security measures at entrances to the holy site, leading to widespread uproar among Muslims.

Israel rolled back all the security measures at entrances to the Temple Mount last week, following nearly two weeks of violent clashes and a boycott of the compound by Muslim worshipers heeding calls to pray in the street.

Last week, dozens of worshipers staged an anti-Israel rally in Tehran in protest of the security measures and chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”

Among the most outspoken critics of the security measures at the Temple Mount was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — the host of the OIC meeting Tuesday — who accused Israel of using “excessive force” against Muslim worshipers during clashes in East Jerusalem.

Erdogan also said the removal of the detectors and other security measures was “not enough.”

On Sunday, thousands of supporters of a conservative Turkish party rallied in Istanbul to protest the security measures and show solidarity with the Palestinians, with protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags while a jingle with the lyric “Hit, hit Zionists” played.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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