Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (center) and top government officials during a meeting with a group of envoys of Muslim countries in Tehran on April 10, 2024

Khamenei Puts Public Pressure On Muslim Governments To Isolate Israel

Thursday, 04/11/2024

Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Thursday called on Muslim countries to isolate Israel, seemingly taking advantage of rising concerns about a retaliatory attack by Tehran.

Reports emerged on Wednesday indicating that American and Israeli intelligence agencies are anticipating an attack by the Islamic Republic in the coming days in retaliation for a devastating Israeli strike on April 1. Two top Revolutionary Guard generals and five other officers were killed when a precision missile flattened a building in the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus. Tehran began threatening retaliation, which could spark a direct war with Israel.

The issue of Gaza cannot be disregarded, Khamenei said, and insisted that it is at the forefront of concerns in the Islamic world, requiring a sense of collective responsibility from everyone. “The hearts of nations, even non-Muslim nations, resonate with the plight of Palestine and Gaza, evidenced by unprecedented rallies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and even the United States against the crimes of the Zionists.,” he told a group of government officials and unidentified foreign diplomats.

Khamenei, in a condescending tone, stated that the Islamic Republic “has the definite expectation and suggestion” that Islamic countries severe political and economic ties with Israel, at least until such a time when Israel stops attacking Hamas. He went on to say that if referendums were held, the majority of Muslims would support such a move, so their government should respect the public mood.

Once reports of an “imminent” Iranian attack emerged on Wednesday, US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk called the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Iraq to ask them to deliver a message to Iran urging it to lower tensions, a source with knowledge of the situation said. The calls took place, and the Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian delivered the same message about isolating Israel to his UAE counterpart. He urged Muslim nations to coalesce and put pressure “on Israel and its backers to end the killings in Gaza.”

Turkey this week adopted the strategy demanded by Khamenei restricting exports of a wide range of products to Israel until a ceasefire is declared in Gaza. This was Ankara's first significant measure against Israel after six months of war.

Another major development on Wednesday was the death of Ismail Haniyeh’s three sons and three grandchildren in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, that rather quickly faded in the news after reports about an imminent Iranian attack emerged later in the day.

Tehran has remained generally quiet about this development, with only the chief commander of the Revolutionary Guard publicly expressing his condolences to Iran’s close Palestinian ally. Calling the airstrike “on a civilian car” a “terrorist act” Hossein Salami both expressed sympathy and congratulated Haniyeh for the “martyrdom” of his sons.

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