The “Zionist regime” must be destroyed, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. This should be achieved “by a referendum of the people living there,” but until that happens, there should be “total armed resistance” against it. That resistance by the Palestinians should be helped by the provision of arms, he added, condemning Israel’s recent “savagery.”

Khamenei was speaking Wednesday night and his speech was reported both by Iran’s semi-official FARS news agency and the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

He said Israel, which he did not refer to by name, had always practiced and taken pride in using “overt violence.”

“They perpetrated any violent act they could think of against the (Palestinians),” he told a cheering crowd of Iranian university students in Tehran. “They stop at nothing. This is the reality of the Zionist regime. The only solution is to destroy this regime.”

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Khamenei clarified that “the destruction of the Zionist regime does not mean the annihilation of the Jewish people in that region. The logic used by Imam (the late Ayatollah Khomeini), when he said that Israel should be destroyed, is humane logic… We said that a referendum should be held among the people living there. The ruling regime there should be determined by a referendum. The people should decide this. This is the meaning of the destruction of the Zionist regime. This is the implication. This is the only solution for this barbaric and wolfish regime.”

“Allah willing,” the day of destruction would come soon, he said. But “so long as this false regime is on its feet – what is the solution?” he asked. “The solution is total armed resistance against this regime… Therefore, it is my belief that the West Bank should be armed just like Gaza. Anyone who cares about the fate of Palestine, and who is capable of doing something, should provide arms to the people (of the West Bank) too,” said Khamenei.