Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday defended an anti-Israel poster shared by the country’s leader that invoked the term “final solution,” after Israeli and US leaders accused him of advocating genocide.
Citing the Nazi murder of Jews in the Holocaust, Mohammad Javad Zarif said it was “disgusting” for Israel to object to the poster, which he claimed advocated for a referendum on what type of government Palestinians want.
The term “final solution” is usually associated with Nazi Germany’s efforts to eliminate all Jews.
“Disgusting that those whose civilization found a ‘Final Solution” in gas chambers attack those who seek a real solution at the ballot box, through a REFERENDUM,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
“Why are US and West so afraid of democracy?” he added. “Palestinians should not have to pay for your crimes, or for your guilt.”
Zarif’s defense of the poster came after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied he supported the annihilation of Jews, saying he only wants Israel’s destruction.
“Eliminating the Zionist regime doesn’t mean eliminating Jews. We aren’t against Jews. It means abolishing the imposed regime & Muslim, Christian & Jewish Palestinians choose their own govt & expel thugs like [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Khamenei tweeted Wednesday.
He also said Iran would back anyone opposed to Israel.
“We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this,” the Iranian leader said.
Iran funds terrorist groups sworn to Israel’s destruction, including the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Gaza-based Hamas.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief on Thursday denounced Khamenei’s call to destroy Israel.
“This is a threat to international peace and security. The security of Israel is of paramount importance and the EU will stand at its side,” Josep Borrell wrote on Twitter.
Khamenei was accused Wednesday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of backing the Nazi’s final solution.
The poster, shared on Khamenei’s website, showed people celebrating at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem after apparently capturing it from Israel as a Palestinian flag is raised over the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“Palestine Will Be Free. The final solution: Resistance until referendum,” the text on the poster says.
The poster later appeared to have been deleted from the website.
Khamenei has called for Israel’s destruction on numerous occasions and frequently refers to Israel as a “cancerous tumor.”
Also Thursday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a message ahead of Quds Day on Friday expressing hope Israel’s destruction is near and Khamenei will soon pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“The IRGC said that hopefully, as the two leaders of the Islamic Revolution have promised, the end of the Zionist regime is close and soon the news of Ayatollah Khamenei congregation prayers in the Holy Quds and the region emerging without the Zionist regime and the US will be covered by all the media of the world,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted the message as saying.
The military force also vowed to continue to fight Israel and said the Palestinians remain its top priority.
Quds Day, which Iran has marked since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, is usually commemorated with regime-orchestrated demonstrations across Iran against Israel and expressing support for the Palestinians. It is held on the last Friday of Ramadan, which this year is May 22.
Over the weekend, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iranians living in areas considered to be at low risk of a further coronavirus outbreak will be allowed to attend Friday prayers including Quds Day commemorations.
In Tehran, which is deemed high-risk, a “symbolic ceremony” will be performed with a motorcade supervised by the Revolutionary Guards.
As of Thursday, Iran’s health ministry has reported 129,341 COVID-19 cases and a death toll of 7,249, one of the highest in the world.