The Islamic Republic held its annual anti-Israel rent-a-crowd parade Friday, reiterating threats against regional countries over normalization of ties with Israel.
The state-sponsored event is held guised as defending the rights of Palestinians but serves as a phenomenon to perpetuate antisemitic and anti-Israel propaganda among the Muslim world under the auspices of a collective cause propagated by Iran's dictator.
The day, which takes its name from the Arabic-language name for Jerusalem, is often described as the official demonstration in support of the Revolutionary Guards Quds (Qods) Force – an IRGC division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations – because it seeks to justify the Islamic Republic’s destabilizing activities across the region.
Directed against Israel’s existence, Al-Quds Day was proclaimed by the founder of the Islamic Republic Ruhollah Khomeini on 7 August 1979. He called on Muslims worldwide to unite in solidarity against Israel and in support of the Palestinians, saying the "liberation" of Jerusalem was a “religious duty to all Muslims”.
Among the most salient programs during the day is burning the flags of Israel, the United States, the UK and other countries that the Islamic Republic deems as enemies, no matter their role in the conflicts between Israel and Palestinians. Effigies of Western officials in chains are also among the sights of the regime’s carnival of hate.
Flags of the US, the UK, Israel being burnt during Quds day rallies in Tehran on April 14, 2023
Almost all the regime’s insiders are socially obligated to attend the event as a renewal of allegiances with one of the main foreign policy issues of the Islamic Republic, the destruction of the State of Israel.
The president and his cabinet ministers as well as members of the parliament, prominent politicians and their entourage and so many other officials from the inner circles of the regime are usually seen during the rallies.
Such state-sponsored events are usually shunned by the general public and the regime ends up transporting paramilitary Basij forces and its supporters from small towns to provincial capitals to form demonstrations with large crowds for the façade of mass support.
President Ebrahim Raisi during Quds day rallies in Tehran on April 14, 2023
As he was walking along his large retinue while people were chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" around him, President Ebrahim Raisi spoke to reporters, emphasizing that “the collapse of the Zionist regime is very close”. Repeated relentlessly with a sense of spiritual foreboding by the Supreme Leader and his cronies, Israel is ironically about to celebrate its 75th year. According to Khamenei’s prophecy, Israel has 17 years left until its downfall.
Raisi reiterated that the liberation of Quds (Jerusalem) is imminent; “Closer than you can imagine,” adding that “the normalization of relations with regional states [such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain] has not brought and will not bring security for the Zionist regime.”
Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf delivered the final speech of the event at Enqelab (revolution) Square after droves of people were guided to the final venue from 10 routes designated for the rallies throughout the capital Tehran. As it was expected, he emphasized that resistance is the only way to achieve success and ultimate victory over Israel.
“Quds Day is a very significant and influential day for the Muslim Ummah and Islamic countries,” he said. “Quds Day indicates that success and victory could be attained only through resistance”. Ghalibaf also lauded recent Iran-backed Palestinian missile strikes into Israel from Gaza, Lebanon and Syria, saying all Palestinian groups have closed ranks to liberate al-Quds (Jerusalem), which he described as the capital of the Muslim world.
The Islamic Republic is so invested in the idea of resistance that it calls its proxy forces and aligned militia across the region “the axis of resistance,” mainly organized by the IRGC’s Quds force. Its current commander Esmail Qaani was also present in the rallies and photos and banners of his predecessor Qassem Soleimani – killed January 2020 by a US drone attack in Baghdad — abounded throughout the event.
The IRGC’s commander-in-chief Hossein Salami also delivered a speech at the event, claiming that Israel is on the brink of destruction, and that it cannot prevent the arming of Palestinians in the West Bank, referring to the likes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which openly admit funding from and affiliations to Iran.
“There are operations in the West Bank and Tel Aviv, and the regime that surrounds itself like a barracks and has the strongest and most modern security systems cannot prevent the arming of the West Bank and the operations of the Palestinian forces,” he said.
This year, the Islamic Republic also released a communiqué at the end of the event – dubbed the Quds Day Resolution – threatening states that have restored relations with Israel, a veiled warning against Saudi Arabia and its allies which are bolstering ties with Jerusalem.
The regime in Tehran, which is in the middle of rapprochement with Riyadh, did not directly mention Saudi Arabia in its Quds day statement, and prevented people from chanting slogans against the Al Saud, a prevalent motto in previous years.
As the regime continues to fight a losing battle against the tide of hijab rebellion, a trigger for months of violent unrest in the country, the day’s final statement reiterated the regime’s rhetoric that the “hijab is one of the necessities of Islam, and not observing it is a religious and political haram and will cause the foundations of families to weaken.”
During state-sponsored rallies, there are often people without the strict hijab observance