(photo credit: Amir Kholousi\AP)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel "hypocrite racists" and a Western invention as Iranians celebrated International Jerusalem Day on Friday, the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with rallies against the "Israeli occupation of Palestinian land by Israel" being held across the country, according to a report by Iranian news source PressTV.
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Iranians held rallies in cities including Teheran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly adressed a Jerusalem Day rally in Teheran, saying "the Zionists are groups of hypocrite racists who have been operating under the pretext of following Jewish religion principles."
Ahmadinejad added that Israel is a Western invention meant to promote colonialism and materialism.
He also said that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are a ruse, and that American negotiators are accomplices to Israeli "crimes" against Palestinians.
"Only Palestinians can decide on their own lands, not foreign powers," PressTV quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
Iran's ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Hamid-Reza Asefi said that Jerusalem Day threatens Israel more than any diplomatic or non-diplomatic measure, according to PressTV.
"By their glorious presence [in the Jerusalem Day rally], the Muslims of the world will tell the oppressed nation of Palestine that they are still beside the Palestinian people and ideals," Asefi reportedly said on Thursday.
According to Asefi, Jerusalem Day, also known as Quds day, has given the Muslim world confidence.
On Thursday, Iranian Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri told Iranian news agency IRNA that Jerusalem day "appears to pave the way for the collapse of Israel and its allies, namely the US and Britain."
"Now that the world public opinion has changed over the Israeli
atrocities, and the popular resistance has gained momentum, the Zionists
appear to be waning," Jazayeri added.
He also said that the talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority were bound to fail.
The late Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeinei declared Jerusalem Day to mark
the last Friday of Ramadan and called for world rallies in favor of the
Palestinians and against Israel.
PressTV quoted the Khomeinei as having said Jerusalem Day is "a day of confrontation between the oppressed and the oppressors."Crowds attack home of Iranian opposition leader
Pro-government militiamen attacked the home of an Iranian opposition leader with homemade bombs and beat one of his bodyguards unconscious, an opposition website reported, in an apparent attempt to keep him from attending a key rally on Friday.
Mahdi Karroubi's guards had to fire gunshots in the air to clear crowds that broke down the door of his home on Thursday night after days of gatherings outside, said the Sahamnews website, which supports Iran's pro-reform movement.
The report said the attackers were members of the plainclothes Basij militia that led the crackdown on the protests that swept the country in response to allegations of fraud in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's June 2009 re-election. Karroubi was one of the pro-reform candidates who ran against Ahmadinejad.
Crowds again encircled Karroubi's residence on Friday, as Iranians filled a central Teheran square for the annual state-sponsored rally known as Quds Day, or Jerusalem Day.
The government uses the occasion as an anti-Israel outpouring and to show its support for the Palestinians. But last year, Karroubi and other opposition leaders used the day to gather tens of thousands of their own supporters into the streets, and violent clashes broke out with security forces.
Crowds of hard-line protesters have gathered at the gate of his building for several days, apparently because they believed he would try to attend the rally again this year, though none of the opposition leaders has called for demonstrations.
Karroubi's son, Hossein, told The Associated Press Friday that dozens of hard-liners were continuing to damage the opposition leader's home and that police were not responding to the scene.
Karroubi, a cleric, and Mir Hossein Mousavi were the two pro-reform candidates who ran against Ahmadinejad in 2009. Mousavi claims he won the election but that it was stolen from him through massive fraud.
On Friday, Mousavi condemned the attack on Karroubi's home, saying it proved the government's "enmity against Israel is an excuse" for attacking opposition figures. "Karroubi and figures like him and other freedom-seekers are the real enemies of authoritarians."