Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei denounced Israel and castigated the United States in a message to Hajj pilgrims on Wednesday.
Khamenei called Israeli activities at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem an “insult” to the holy site and among the “foremost” problems for Muslims.
There have been a series of violent clashes at the mount — the holiest site in Judaism, and the third holiest in Islam — in recent days. Israeli forces found pipe bombs and other weaponry in the site last Sunday, where they said their intervention prevented a planned attack. Palestinian officials claim Israel is allowing more Jewish visitors and plans to permit Jewish prayer at the site, which Israel denies.
Khamenei accused Israel of “trampling the lives and properties of the oppressed Palestinians.”
As for the United States, he said its “evil policies” in the region “have resulted in war, bloodshed, destruction and displacement as well as poverty, backwardness and sectarian and religious rifts,” according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
Facing these problems, said Khamenei, Muslims “should think and understand your divine responsibility.”
Khamenei’s bellicose message followed a stream of hostile rhetoric Tuesday by several Iranian military chiefs.
Iran’s chief of staff derided US Republican opposition to the recent US-backed nuclear agreement, and accused the US and Israel of sponsoring terrorism, while another Iranian military chief scoffed that Tehran had intimidated the US into abandoning the idea of using military force in the region.
The anti-US statements came as Iran held a military parade outside Tehran to showcase weapons including surface-to-surface missiles such as the solid-fuel Sejjil and the liquid-fuel Ghadr, both with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). Also on display at the annual parade were Russian-made S-200 and Tor-M1 surface-to-air missile systems designed primarily to track, target, and destroy aircraft and cruise missiles.