(A7)Iranian officials threatened Israel on Friday as thousands of Iranians marched in Tehran to mark “Al-Quds Day,” The Associated Press reported.
Friday was the first time such marches were held since before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Al-Quds Day was declared in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian Revolution. It is marked throughout the Middle East and in countries around the world, including the United States.
During Al-Quds Day, rallies are held around the world and are used to incite against Israelis and Jews.
Demonstrators chanted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” and set fire to American, British and Israeli flags during Friday’s rally, according to AP.
Iranian state TV later showed a variety of ballistic missiles on display at the rally, describing them as “Israel hitters.”
The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s expeditionary force, known as the Quds force, said saying that Iran backs all groups ready to fight Israel.
“We support any front that is formed against this criminal regime, and we will support any community that is ready to fight this criminal regime,” Gen. Esmail Ghaani said at a speech in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
Another Guard commander, Gen. Mohammad Salami, warned Israel that it would face a “painful response” if it takes any offensive action against Iran.
“If the slightest act of evil is being taken by you, you know better than me what will befall you,” he said, according to AP.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech broadcast live on television, condemned unnamed Arab states in the Persian Gulf for normalizing ties with Israel, referring to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
“We condemn the treacherous move to normalize relations” with Israel, he said, and reiterated Iran’s support for the Palestinian cause.
Khamenei regularly threatens Israel and incites against it. Last year on Al-Quds Day, he called on Muslim nations to keep fighting against Israel, which he said was not a state but a “terrorist garrison” against Palestinian Arabs.
In 2018, ahead of the Al-Quds Day rallies, then-Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on all Iranians to turn out for mass protests and send a message “to the usurper Zionist Regime [Israel] that they have not forgotten the Palestinian land and the Holy Quds and the freedom of the Holy Quds is still the holy cause of the Iranian people and all Muslims.”