A scene of state-sponsored Quds Day rallies in Tehran (April 5, 2024)

Iranians Criticize Quds Day's Futility And Destructive Impact

Friday, 04/05/2024

Iranians are expressing growing discontent with the government's annual Quds Day rallies, with many viewing them as irrelevant to their daily struggles and detrimental to regional peace.

Messages sent to Iran International revealed a deep disconnect between the state-sponsored event and public sentiment. These messages paint a clear picture: Iranians are increasingly critical of government-sponsored annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day rallies, viewing them as irrelevant and hypocritical distractions from pressing domestic issues.

A veteran of the Iran-Iraq war questioned the government's priorities. "Why there is no day of recognition for Sistan-Baluchestan, Kerman, Bam, or other neglected parts of Iran?" he asked, highlighting the government's lack of interest in the plight of the residents of the most deprived Iranian cities.

Disillusionment with the regime's narrative was evident in almost all the messages. A citizen condemned the government's purported concern for Palestinians as "hypocrisy and deceit," stating, "People no longer accept either the Islamic Republic or its Quds Day."

Political commentator Ali-Hossein Ghazizadeh criticized the Quds Day ceremony on Iran International, stating, "The ceremony lacks any representation of Iranian national symbols. The music played during the event is entirely Arabic and focuses on Jerusalem. It fails to connect with the Iranian people."

A scene of state-sponsored Quds Day rallies in Bojnord, North Khorasan province (April 5, 2024)

The declining popularity of the rallies was also noted. Another viewer emphasized that over the past four decades, public participation in such government-led ceremonies has waned, with little sign of ordinary Iranians or those unaffiliated with the ruling apparatus attending such gatherings.

Some people pointed out the disparity between the government's emphasis on these ceremonies and its approach to Iran's domestic issues, with many criticizing its focus on its regional policies while neglecting domestic problems.

One Iranian called Quds Day "a glossy cover-up for domestic corruption," while another stated that "These ceremonies and their promises of financial aid to the people in Gaza are a smokescreen for large-scale theft by government officials."

The metaphors used by some people were particularly striking. Using a Persian proverb that is the equivalent of “being more Catholic than the Pope,” one criticized the regime’s extravagant ceremonies for Quds Day in an audio message. While another linked Quds Day’s origins to the establishment of the Islamic Republic, implying its association with "the destruction and misery of the Iranian people." Directed against Israel’s existence, Al-Quds Day was proclaimed by the founder of the Islamic Republic Ruhollah Khomeini on August 7, 1979, a few months after the establishment of the Islamic Republic.

Another message went further, arguing that the Islamic Republic's regional policies not only fail to help Palestinians or achieve "Palestinian independence," but actually worsen their situation. A citizen stated it bluntly: "The Islamic Republic's meddling has left Palestinians and Lebanese helpless. Despite this government's rhetoric, where in the region do we see peace?"

A scene of state-sponsored Quds Day rallies in Tehran (April 5, 2024)

This sentiment was echoed by another who viewed Quds Day as a day of "betrayal of peace and friendship in the region" which only contributes to the Islamic Republic's "warmongering approach." They argued that since the Islamic Republic's rise to power, the region has seen only the discord.

One message highlighted the contrasting approach of the Abraham Accords, through which Israel is pursuing peaceful relations with Arab countries. The message noted that before the recent escalation ignited by Hamas's invasion of Israel on October 7, normalization talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia were nearing completion.

The recurring theme in people’s messages was comparing the Quds Day rallies to a "carnival" masking a destructive reality: The Islamic Republic keeps proclaiming its desire to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth but prioritizes turning Iranians into "sacrificial lambs" rather than directly confronting its archnemesis.

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