Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets across Iran on Friday to mark Al-Quds Day, an annual event to reaffirm solidarity with the people of Palestine, Anadolu News Agency reports.
In the capital, Tehran, people marched from different parts of the city and converged at the University of Tehran, carrying banners and posters with pro-Palestine messages and chanting slogans against Israel and the US.
Al-Quds Day, proposed by Iran’s former Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, after the 1979 revolution, is held each year on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.
This year’s slogan for Al-Quds rallies was “Palestine as the axis of the unity of Islamic world and Al-Quds on the threshold of liberation.”
Top political and military leaders took part in Friday’s rally in Tehran, including President Ebrahim Raisi; Parliament Speaker, Baqer Qalibaf; Judiciary Chief, Mohseni Ejei; Nuclear Agency head, Mohammad Eslami; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Gen. Esmail Qaaani.
Addressing the rally, following Friday prayers at the University of Tehran, Qalibaf said the “post-Israel world” is “a step away”, adding that Palestinians are today “throwing rockets, instead of stones”.
“Today, Palestine has become a centre for the defence of Islamic and human values,” he said. “Today we can think about the post-Israel world and see it one step away.”
He described Jerusalem Al-Quds as the “capital of Palestine” and Palestine as the “capital of the Islamic world”.
In a Twitter post after Friday’s rallies, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said the liberation of Al-Quds is “not limited to the borders of Islam” but lies at the “intersection of honour and humanity of freedom seekers of the world”.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement earlier in the day, reiterated its call for holding a “national referendum” in Palestine to end the long-standing crisis.
On Thursday, Iran’s Armed Forces issued a strongly-worded statement, asserting that Israel faces an “unprecedented chain of crises” and that the “countdown” to its “collapse” has begun.
Meanwhile, Naval Forces of the IRGC on Friday held large-scale manoeuvres in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman “in support of Palestine”, state media reported.
At least 2,700 vessels took part in the parade in the north and south of the country, which was reportedly coordinated with the navies of some other regional countries.
Al-Quds Day came amid heightened tensions in the Occupied West Bank following a series of Israeli raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the arrest of worshippers.
It also came days after two IRGC officers were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Syria, with top Iranian political and military officials vowing a “firm and decisive response”.