Quds day – initiated in 1979 by the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini – is an annual event of fiery anti-Israel protests in Iran on the last Friday of Ramadan that attracts tens of thousands of people.
Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Vaezi, one of some 80 members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts that is a supervisory body around Iran’s Supreme Leader, was quoted Wednesday as saying that shouting the “Death to the Zionist regime” chant prevents Israeli “aggression.”
The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) ran a story Wednesday quoting him as saying that Quds Day is a “universal cry against the Zionists.”
“The Zionists never change policy and continue their crimes and aggressions against different nations,” he said.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry, according to the news service, issued a statement to mark the coming day, saying that the “restoration of lasting peace and tranquility in the Middle East can be attained through full observance of legitimate rights of oppressed Palestinian nation.”
The statement called for “resistance” as the only way for the Palestinians to “defend their rights, liberate their motherland and the Holy Quds [Jerusalem].”
The establishment of Quds Day, the statement said, was “one of the enduring and eternal legacies” of Khomeini.
“In such a day, all freedom seekers and Muslims voice their support to the cause of Palestine and express hatred of the Zionist occupiers,” read the statement.
The statement accused Israel not only of “sedition” against the Palestinians, but also “across the Middle East and their support for takfiri [apostate Muslim] groups and their brutality and savagery, which are obviously more visible than ever.”
The statement made clear that the Zionist “occupation of Palestine” has been going on since the establishment of the state in 1948, not only since the Six Day War in 1967 when Israel took control of the territories.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Quds Day is a day of Muslim “unity.”
“The Muslims with their widespread presence in this day tell the world that despite the silence of some people vis-à-vis the indescribable oppressions done against the great nation of Palestine, they will never forget the Holy Quds and the oppressed Palestinian nation,” IRNA quoted him as saying.