Iranian lawmakers called for Israel’s destruction and led rallies where citizens chanted “death to U.S.” on Friday, marking the annual Quds Day (Jerusalem Day) celebrations across the Islamic Republic and throughout parts of the Muslim world.
The holiday takes place on the last Friday of Ramadan every year and was established by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 to garner support for the destruction of the Jewish state, and according to Khomeini, liberate the Palestinian people from Zionist occupation.
Speaking in Tehran on Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that World War I and World War II were orchestrated by Zionists in order to help the United States achieve global power.
“Westerners are after [the establishment] of a new Middle East. We are also after a new Middle East which will definitely be formed … but in this new Middle East, there will be no trace of the US and Zionists,” Ahmadinejad said, according to Iranian news outlets.
Friday’s protests, which include events across Europe and Asia, follow a week’s worth of statements from Iranian leaders calling for Israel’s demise. On Thursday, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei said Israel would “disappear from the geographical landscape” and be replaced by a Palestinian state, while Ahmadinejad offered his own statement on Quds Day from a conference in Saudi Arabia.
“Keeping in mind the occurred developments in the world and the oppressor powers’ great enthusiasm for saving the Zionists, it is a dire necessity that this year’s Quds Day rallies would be held more enthusiastically, at a much broader scale, and with a much wiser attitude than the years before,” he said.
During a speech in Tehran on Friday, Ahmadinejad said, “the very existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to humanity.”
Quds Day demonstrations in Europe and Asia are taking place on Friday as well. In Pakistan, a bus carrying a group of people to a protest in Karachi was hit with an explosion.