Iran leaders focus on Palestinians in Eid messages to nation

Khamenei praises citizens for participating in anti-Israel rallies; Rouhani says he believes ‘Palestine will be returned to owners of the land’

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting, in Tehran, Iran, January 2, 2018. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in a meeting, in Tehran, Iran, January 2, 2018. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

In an address to the nation on Friday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Iranian citizens for showing up at massive anti-Israel rallies last week in support of the Palestinian people to mark Al-Quds, or Jerusalem Day.

“This year and despite hot weather, people participated in Quds Day rallies more remarkable than previous years,” said Khamenei in a speech on Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

President Hassan Rouhani also sent a message to the nation, saying “I believe the land of Palestine will be returned to owners of the land with the help of god.”

Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency claimed that “millions of Iranians from all walks of life” took part in the protests in “nearly 900 Iranian cities” last Friday.

In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with officials and industrialists, at a petroleum conference in Tehran, Iran, May 8, 2018. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

There was no independent verification of these numbers.

Chanting “Death to Israel,” demonstrators protested Israel’s control of Jerusalem, the city where Muslims believe Islam’s Prophet Muhammad began his journey to heaven. Palestinians want East Jerusalem for their future capital. Demonstrators also chanted anti-American slogans to condemn the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem on May 14.

Iran has marked Al-Quds Day since the start of its 1979 Islamic revolution. Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem, and Iran says the day is an occasion to express support for the Palestinians.

Iran-allied Shiite paramilitary fighters step on an Israeli flag drawn on the pavement during a rally to mark “Quds Day” (Jerusalem Day) first initiated by Iran in 1979 to fall on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on June 8, 2018. (AFP Photo/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

The day is also the last Friday of Ramadan and comes just three days after the Palestinians’ Naksa Day on June 5, which commemorates the Arab loss in the 1967 Six Day War.

Iran does not recognize Israel and supports anti-Israeli terror groups such as Hamas, which rules Gaza, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

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