Should Israel continue to impose an economic and physical blockade on the Gaza Strip, the consequences would be dire, Iran's former president and influential cleric said on Tuesday. Speaking during a prayer sermon, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that Muslim anger over the sanctions will eventually explode and "burn" Israelis. Rafsanjani's comments were aired on the Iranian state radio. The cleric also criticized Muslim countries for their passivity over the blockade. He said that their inaction was a "disgrace," and would remain a stain on those states. Israel and Egypt blockaded Gaza after Hamas seized control of the coastal area in June 2007. Israel recently tightened its sanctions in response to ongoing Palestinian rocket fire at Israeli communities.