Thousands attend Iran’s annual anti-Israel rallies and protests

Rohani claims US reason for “discord” amongst Muslims, with Israel as its “regional base” in region; Protestors burn American and Israeli flags, calling “death to America”, “death to Israel”

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Thousands gathered in Tehran Friday morning, commemorating its annual al-Quds Day, or in English “Jerusalem Day”, an annual event protesting Zionism, the State of Israel and support for the Palestinians and a Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital.

As with each year, thousands marched through Tehran and through out Iran, chanting “death to Israel” and “death to America”, protestors holding signs, banners and burning Israeli and American flags.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani gave a televised address marking the occasion, accusing the West of creating “discord among Muslims” and claiming that the State of Israel is the United States’ “regional base” in the region.

He stated, “Today, due to the divisions in the Islamic world, the presence of takfiris [Sunni extremists] and terrorists in the region… we are far away from the ideal of liberating Palestine.” He claimed that “The global arrogance [the West] wants to create discord among Muslims” and that “disunity and discord among Muslim and terrorist groups in the region” is the reason for diversion “from the important issue of Palestine” calling for “unity” as the only means to “restore stability in the region.”

Al-Quds Day falls on the last Friday of the Ramadan and was established in 1979 by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and then Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi. The day has evolved to include international demonstrations calling for the liberation of Jerusalem and the Palestinians. In 1981, Ayatollah invited “Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the holy month of Ramadan” in order to “proclaim international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine”.

Hezbollah cancelled its al-Quds Day events on Thursday, citing “security concerns”.