Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Tens of thousands of Iranians march in Iran celebrate end of Ramadan calling for Israel's destruction and 'Death to America'
Tens of thousands of Iranians march in Iran celebrate end of Ramadan calling for Israel's destruction and 'Death to America'
Iranian funded Hezballah to stage 'destroy Israel' rallies in Lebanon
October 28, 2005
MIM: The Iranian president's proclamation saying that 'Israel should be wiped off the map' should not only come as no surprise, after the country defiantly unsealed their nuclear plants. It must be noted that Ahmadinejad made his remarks after he had been feted at the UN and given a visa by the US government despite being considered a terrorist,who was identified as one of the hostage takers and ringleaders of the siege at the US embassy in the 1970's. The US visa was provisional on Ahmadinejab's not venturing more then 25 miles outside of NYC. The danger posed by Iran to the world was detailed by Dr. Daniel Pipes who noted this corrolation between anti semitism and anti Americanism in his article : "Deadly Denial of Muslim anti semitism":
"...The conflation of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism: Jews and Americans, Israel and the United States – they have merged in the minds of many around the world, so that one prejudice routinely implies the other one too. The two hatreds also share a basic feature: neither is susceptible to rational argument, so each is better understood as the symptom of a psychological disorder than of some arcane political logic..."http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2412
"The psychological preparation for using nuclear weapons against Israel has already begun. In December 2001, as reported in Iran's English, Farsi and Arabic newspapers, former Iranian president and "Expediency Council" Chairman Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that:
"...If one day, he said, the world of Islam comes to possess the weapons currently in Israel's possession [meaning nuclear weapons] - on that day this method of global arrogance would come to a dead end. This, he said, is because the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam..." http://www.danielpipes.org/article/1294
Under the watchful eye of his bodyguard, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, waves to the crowd, during a public welcoming ceremony as he arrived from New York where he attended the U.N General Assembly, at the Mehrabad airport, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2005. Ahmadinejad declared Wednesday Oct. 26, 2005 that Israel is a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the map" _ fiery words that Washington said underscores its concern over Iran's nuclear program. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Tens of Thousands of Iranians Stage Anti-Israel Protests Across the Country
By ALI AKBAR
The Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran - Tens of thousands of Iranians staged anti-Israel protests across the country on Friday, repeating calls by their ultraconservative president for the Jewish state's destruction.
World leaders have condemned Wednesday's remarks by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who repeated the words of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic revolution, by saying: "Israel must be wiped off the map."
On Friday the Iranian embassy in Moscow tried to soften the impact of Ahmadinejad's comment.
"Mr. Ahmadinejad did not have any intention to speak in sharp terms and engage in a conflict," the Iranian embassy in Moscow said in a statement following a wave of international criticism.
It added that Ahmadinejad "underlined the key position of Iran, based on the necessity to hold free elections on the occupied territories."
The embassy statement came after Moscow, a key ally of Iran, joined criticism of Ahmadinejad's statement and summoned the Iranian ambassador to ask for an explanation.
Iranians staged multiple demonstrations in the capital, Tehran, and other cities such as Mashad in Iran's east, holding banners carrying anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian slogans. "Death to Israel, death to America," read many of the placards.
The demonstrations are part of the annual al-Quds Jerusalem Day protests, which were first held in 1979 after Shiite Muslim clerics took power in Iran.
The state-organized rallies are expected to grow ahead of midday mosque sermons across Iran. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have attended previous protests.
Late Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said the massive demonstrations would illustrate the anger of the Islamic world over the Jewish state's existence.
"The comments expressed by the president is the declared and specific policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Mottaki told state-run television. "We don't recognize the Zionist regime and don't consider it legitimate."
Countries from Britain to Russia denounced Ahmadinejad's comments. The United States said the Iranian leader's hostility underscored Washington's concern over Iran's nuclear program. Israel said Iran should be suspended from the United Nations.
Iran's seven state-run TV stations devoted coverage Friday to programs condemning the Jewish state and praising the Palestinian resistance since the 1948 creation of Israel.
Three stations also showed live coverage of crowds of people gathering early Friday in streets throughout Tehran. One man who appeared to be in his 30s carried a placard saying: "The late Khomeini said Israel should be wiped off the map."
After Khomeini toppled the pro-Western Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979, he declared the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as an international day of struggle against Israel and for the liberation of Jerusalem.
The Iranian government organizes a central demonstration annually in Tehran, while other rallies demanding Israel's destruction are held around the world. Lebanon's Hezbollah is expected to stage a mass military parade in Beirut on Friday.
Iran's president has defended his widely criticised call for Israel to be "wiped off the map".
Attending an anti-Israel rally in Tehran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his remarks were "just" - and the criticism did not "have any validity."
Last Wednesday's comment provoked world outrage. Israel has called for Iran's expulsion from the United Nations.
Egypt said they showed "the weakness of the Iranian government". A Palestinian official also rejected the remarks.
Tens of thousands of Iranians took part in the rally in Tehran which Iran organises every year on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan to show solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.
Shouting "Death to Israel, death to the Zionists", the protesters dragged Israeli flags along the ground and then set them on fire.
Many carried posters and placards sporting the slogan "Israel should be wiped off the map".
Joining the protest, Mr Ahmadinejad said: "My words were the Iranian nation's words.
"Westerners are free to comment, but their reactions are invalid," Mr Ahmadinejad told the official Irna news agency.
But while most Muslim and Arab capitals have remained silent on the remarks, a few have spoken out - including Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
"Palestinians recognise the right of the state of Israel to exist and I reject his comments," he told the BBC News website.
"What we need to be talking about is adding the state of Palestine to the map and not wiping Israel from the map," he said.
Tehran says the West's reaction is linked to its nuclear plans
Egypt, which has signed a peace treaty with Israel, also rejected the Iranian line.
"In principle, we are way beyond this type of political rhetoric that shows the weakness of the Iranian government," said an official at the Egyptian embassy in London.
Turkey's prime minister called on the Iranian president "to display political moderation".
While there is no sense that Iran is backing down, there are Iranians who are concerned that their country could become increasingly isolated under this new ultra-conservative government, reports the BBC Frances Harrison in Tehran.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom meanwhile said Israel would call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
"We have decided to open a broad diplomatic offensive," Mr Shalom said.
So far no action has been taken at the UN, but Secretary General Kofi Annan took the unusual step of rebuking Iran for the comments.
Iran has dismissed the international furore as a means of pressing Iran to compromise on its nuclear programme.
Negotiations have stalled between the EU and Iran over attempts to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.
On the spot in Tehran: 'A family day-out ... with flag-burning'
Ramita Navai, Tehran Correspondent for The Times, was among thousands on the streets of the Iranian capital for annual anti-Israel rallies, at which the President continued his inflammatory rhetoric.
"It's a bit like a family day out, but with cursory outbreaks of flag burning. There are picnics, street-vendors and people selling balloons... there's a kind of carnival atmosphere.
"But I walked past one stand where people were writing messages on a flag to send to Palestine. There was a girl there, she can't have been older than 5, and she had just signed her name below a message reading 'Death to Israel, death to America.'
"The conservative hardliners have turned out in force, but it would be a mistake to think that all of Iran is on the streets baying for Israel's blood.
"The majority of ordinary Iranians don't really care about Israel - they have enough to worry about at home with a declining economy and high unemployment.
"Many of the people are wearing bibs or carrying banners which read 'Peaceful Nuclear Energy is Iran's Right.' That is certainly an issue which has united all of Iran - the destruction of Israel is not.
"Nevertheless, Iranians are really quite puzzled by the reaction to the President's comments. To them it's nothing that they don't hear at every Friday prayers. They are quite bemused about it all. Everyone knows that it's what President Ahmadinejad thinks.
"What's being debated here is whether he is just incredibly naiive and inexperienced in international diplomacy or whether this is a change towards a more confrontational approach in Iran's negotiating tactics.
"I have heard that he has just repeated his comments to the crowd, confirmed and repeated them. So it looks as though he is not backing down."