On the eve of International al Quds [Jerusalem] Day in Iran, the country’s leaders and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are declaring that the “deal of the century” to be announced by the Trump Administration will never be implemented. They stand with the Palestinians, and they are committed to the “removal of the Zionists from Palestine.”
As they do every year on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan (which falls this year on May 31, 2019), the Shiite population centers both in and outside of Iran (including in several European capitals) will be marking International Jerusalem (al-Quds) Day. This day has been celebrated each year since 1979. According to a ruling by the founder of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Iranian government, it is a day to express the yearning of all Muslims for the “liberation of Jerusalem.”
Khomeini’s anti-Israeli outlook continues to dictate and shape the objectives and strategy of exporting the Islamic Revolution. Those objectives include perpetuating the fundamental hostility and hatred toward Israel and the calls for its destruction.
Today, Khamenei is committed to the legacy of Khomeini’s Jerusalem Day. A source in Basij News:2
Jerusalem Day is marked with mass processions (usually after recruitment and organized transportation by the regime and its mechanisms) and condemnatory speeches that include the slogan “Death to Israel,” calls for its destruction, and denunciations of the United States (“Death to America”) and Saudi Arabia, which, according to the Iranians, is an accomplice of the U.S. and Israeli “intrigues” in the region and of the harsh sanctions being imposed on Iran.
Khamenei: Trump’s Deal of the Century Will Fail
On May 29, 2019, Supreme Leader Khamenei said that mass participation in the “Jerusalem Day processions to defend Palestine is always important, but this year its importance is greater in light of the treacherous deeds of some of the United States’ satellite countries in the region, which together have concocted the deal of the century…. It is clear that this deal will never be implemented and that the United States and its satellites will suffer a total failure.”3
Khamenei added that, unlike in previous cases (of proposals for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), the U.S. Administration is publicly saying that it wants to eliminate the Palestinian issue completely and remove it from the world agenda, but it will fail in all its aims.
Rouhani: “Deal of the Century? The Failure and Fiasco of the Century.”
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani labeled the deal of the century “the failure and fiasco of the century” and a “plot against the peoples of the region.” In an unusual statement, he said that while in the past “the Palestinians grasped stones to defend themselves, they now have the means to mount a crushing response against Israel…. Today, they can react to missiles with missile fire, to such an extent that after 48 hours Israel was forced to retreat and the Iron Dome system could not cope with the shower of missiles from the Palestinian fighters.”
Rouhani added that Jerusalem Day’s true importance is that “Iran has never forgotten Jerusalem and those subjected to ongoing oppression in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. Iran will never abandon them to their fate.”
Rouhani, in the same vein as Khamenei, said that this year’s Jerusalem Day is different from those in the past. “Last year the enemies of Palestine and Jerusalem [the United States] tried to undermine the holiness of Jerusalem, declaring that they recognize it as the capital of the conqueror and also moving their embassy to it…. Against this backdrop, this year’s demonstrations will be more spectacular and impressive than in the past.”4
The Iranian foreign minister tweeted: “Jerusalem is not America’s to give up, not Israel’s to take, and not the Gulf States’ to purchase…. Jerusalem belongs to Palestine and the Palestinians. History has already proved that whoever tries to ignore this is doomed to bitter failure. Iran stands with Palestine.”5
In a statement issued by the IRGC for Quds [Jerusalem] Day, they called President Trump’s deal of the century a “modern jahiliyyah” (jahiliyyah is the period of ignorance that preceded Islam) that is intended “to destroy Palestine and ensure the security of the bogus entity occupying Palestine.”
The statement also said that with Allah’s help, “the intrigue woven against Palestine by the United States, its allies, and the Zionists will be foiled by the blessed resistance of the oppressed and defenseless in Palestine and with the help of the resolve and support of the Islamic nation and especially the Iranian people.”
As for a solution, the IRGC refers to the Iranian political plan, also reiterated by Rouhani, to destroy Israel as the state of the Jewish people: “the only solution for the Palestine issue is the expulsion of the occupiers, the removal of the Zionists from the occupied lands, the restoration of the Palestinian refugees, and the holding of free elections while fulfilling the right of the Palestinians to self-determination.”6
“Palestine”—Iran’s First Line of Defense
Ideological and national-strategic motives stand behind Iran’s support for “Palestine” and for the terror organizations in the “resistance front” that work to “liberate” it. “Palestine” (like Syria and Lebanon) is the main component of Iran’s concept of national defense. From its standpoint, the Palestinian armed struggle – or “resistance” – is the first line of defense for Iran. This explains Tehran’s ongoing support for Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas with weapons, training, and funding, and its opposition to a political solution in which Israel continues to exist as a Jewish state. As Iran sees it, if it does not wage the campaign against Israel through a proxy far from its borders (and from Syria with Iranian forces and Shiite militias), it will eventually have to fight Israel on its own soil.
In recent years, despite the regime’s efforts to mobilize the masses with large-scale transportation and incentives, the al-Quds Day demonstrations have been paltry. Last year, the demonstrators even criticized the regime with a slogan, which had echoed in the streets of Tehran during the 2009 Green Revolution: “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, live for Iran” (#نه_غزه_نه_لبنان_جانم_فدای_ایران) .
On the social networks, too, as Jerusalem Day (marked on May 31, 2019) draws near, these slogans are returning,7 along with criticism of the regime’s failures to deal with domestic issues and its preoccupation with helping foreign actors.
The bitterness among Iranians is heard in this statement listing suffering areas inside Iran:
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