Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed Israel on Wednesday for conflicts between Muslim nations and groups throughout the Middle East, saying these were orchestrated by “Zionists” to distract from their crimes against Palestinians.
Speaking to his cabinet ahead of Al-Quds Day, the Iranian-led day of solidarity against Israel, Rouhani said “Zionists are trying to make others forget their crimes and make the Muslims, the regional people and the world forget the oppressed Palestine and the savagery of the Zionists,” according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
They were doing this, he said, through “behind-the-scenes attempts, terror, and creating conflicts among the regional and Muslim world countries and Muslim against Muslim and Muslim against Christian wars in recent years.”
Though Rouhani did not name specific conflicts, he could be alluding among other things to the ongoing Syrian civil war and Islamic State’s rise throughout the Middle East, as well as Tehran’s strife with regional rival Saudi Arabia and the two nations’ proxy war in neighboring Yemen.
“We shouldn’t let the Zionists’ big crimes be forgotten, and the oppressed Palestinian nation which has been displaced and forced out of its own home feel disappointment,” Rouhani said.
To this end he called for mass turnout at international rallies Friday marking Al-Quds Day.
Rouhani has often railed against Israel in the past.
In May he said Iran had overcome Zionist plots to curtail its nuclear capabilities. In April he called Israel the “main source of violence and extremism” in the world, and lamented that the global community has abandoned the Palestinians as the Jewish state carries out a “massacre.”
The notion that Israel is to blame for much of the woes of the Middle East, and even the world, is a common one in Arab countries. It was recently promoted by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas himself, who claimed that an end to Israeli control of the West Bank would eliminate terrorism throughout the world.