Pro-Palestine students in the US

Iranian Leader Calls Pro-Palestinian Students in US ‘Resistance Front’

Thursday, 05/30/2024

Iran's supreme leader has praised the pro-Palestine students, branding them part of Iran's 'resistance front' against the US and Israel.

“Dear university students in the United States of America, you are standing on the right side of history. You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government's ruthless pressure - which openly supports Zionists,” read a letter by Ali Khamenei.

The letter, dated May 25 and published on Khamenei's website on Thursday, predicts a "different fate awaits the important region of West Asia,” branding the students part of the “resistance front”, the group of militias Iran sponsors across the Middle East.

“The ‘resistance front,” the letter added, “rose amid this dark and bleak atmosphere, and the formation of ‘the Islamic Republic’ in Iran contributed to its expansion and strength.”

Thousands of students have taken to the streets and set up encampments at their campuses to protest against Israel which is in the midst of a war against Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza. Sparked by the Hamas invasion of October 7, in which 1,200 mostly civilians were killed, the retaliation has seen over 35,000 Palestinians killed according to Hamas. It has seen Israel accused of genocide as it continues its war aimed at annihilating Hamas and rescuing the remaining 125 hostages in Gaza. The US has defended Israel’s right to defend itself and continues to arm the world’s only Jewish state.

Khamenei added that the US administration had been providing the regime with continual political, economic, and arms support. “The American administration and its partners have not even as much as frowned upon this state terrorism and incessant oppression,” the letter read.

The letter sparked responses from across the political spectrum. US House Speaker Mike Johnson said: "When you’ve won the Ayatollah, you’ve lost America.”

Pro-Palestinian student protests in the US have been providing media fodder for the Islamic Republic as it continues to bet on political trouble overseas to make up for lost legitimacy at home.

Khamenei and his loyalists in the Iranian regime have seen victory in pro-Hamas protests in American universities, and the Supreme Leader on several occasions made sure to highlight this.

“Despite the extensive efforts of Zionists and their American and European supporters, the issue of Gaza remains the top global concern. Protests against the crimes of the Zionist regime in American universities and their expansion to European universities are signs of the continued sensitivity of public opinion worldwide to the Gaza issue,” Iran’s ruler said earlier in May.

A pro-government ideologue has expressed hope that the Islamic Republic can use the potential of pro-Palestinian protesting students at US campuses to form a new proxy group in America.

“I think the potential to repeat in the US what the Islamic Republic did in Lebanon is much higher. Our Hezbollah-style base in the US is much larger than what we have in Lebanon,” said University of Tehran professor Foad Izadi in an interview with Iran’s state TV in early May.

Khamenei has invested 35 years of his rule to relentlessly campaign against Israel, the United States and Western influence, not only in the Middle East but also in distant places in Africa and Latin America.

With heavy political and military investment on Hamas and other militant groups in the region, Khamenei seems desperate to showcase any sign of anti-Israeli and anti-Western public opinion at home and abroad as a sign of vindication for his worldview.

“The brutal and merciless behavior of the rabid Zionist dog proved the righteousness of the Islamic Republic's position and the Iranian people, and the massacre of thirty-some thousand people, half of whom are women and children, demonstrated the evil nature of the Zionist regime and the perpetual righteousness of Iran to the whole world,” according to Khamenei.

While Khamenei praises the protesters, Iran continues to quash dissent with hundreds of Iranians killed since 2022’s Women, Life, Freedom uprising and tens of thousands imprisoned.

Khamenei feels insecure after years of anti-regime protests by ordinary Iranians, whose social freedoms are being curtailed by Islamic restrictions and their economic status degraded by high inflation and lack of real jobs.

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