Iran to mark annual anti-Israel Al Quds rally with vehicles, online

Typically, rallies to mark Quds Day are held in towns and cities across Iran with attendees marching, chanting "Death to Israel" and burn the Israeli flag.

Iranians burn an effigy in the likeness of U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest marking the annual al-Quds Day (Jerusalem Day) on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan in Tehran, Iran June 8, 2018 (photo credit: TASNIM NEWS AGENCY)
Iranians burn an effigy in the likeness of U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest marking the annual al-Quds Day (Jerusalem Day) on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan in Tehran, Iran June 8, 2018
(photo credit: TASNIM NEWS AGENCY)
BERLIN - Iran is slated to mark next week’s annual antisemitic Quds Day rally, calling for the obliteration of  Israel. by permitting people to drive in vehicles and  participate in an online event rather than march through the streets, so as to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced the vehicle protest on state-controlled television on Saturday.
The elite Revolutionary Guards will be in charge of organizing the rallies, Rouhani said, adding that those joining in could still chant slogans from their vehicles and wave flags.
Rallies to mark Quds Day, which uses the Arabic name for Jerusalem, are held in towns and cities across the country and aim to show of support for the Palestinians. Typically those marching chant “Death to Israel” and burn the Israeli flag.
The Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Saturday that an international Quds Day conference will be held online.
The state-controlled IRNA wrote: “Ayatollah Aarafi said that the aim of the conference is to keep Quds alive using the capacity of the elite, NGOs and Arbaeen rallies, discussing Zionists and the World Arrogance’s plots and state terrorism against Palestine, as well as the strategies of the Resistance.”
One of the conference’s sections is titled “discourse of Islamic Resistance and liberation of the Holy Quds.” The regime’s use of liberation has been interpreted as state-sponsored violence against the Jewish state to seize Jerusalem and dismantle Israel.
A second panel is titled: “the role of Resistance General’s martyrdom in fight against Zionism.”
The US State Department under both the Obama and Trump administrations has classified Iran as the world’s worst state-sponsor of terrorism.
US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr stated that Iran is the “world’s chief trafficker in antisemitism” and that “antisemitism isn’t ancillary to the ideology of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is a central foundational component of the ideology of that regime, and we have to be clear about it, and we have to confront it and call it out for what it is.”
Rouhani said Quds Day, held each year on the last Friday of Ramadan which falls on May 22, would go ahead as normal in 218 other towns and cities, where the coronavirus outbreak has been less severe than in the capital.
“The coronavirus danger is still there, but our situation is better than before,” he said. “We have crossed the main peak.”
As of Saturday, Iran’s reported death toll from the pandemic stood at 6,937 with 118,392 diagnosed cases, the health ministry said.
The ministry spokesman said the death toll in the past 24 hours was 35, the lowest in the past 70 days, while the number of new cases was 1,757.
Shia Muslim shrines dotted around the country are due to reopen for six hours a day after Ramadan, which is based on the lunar calendar and is expected to end around May 24 this year.
Shrines would open for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon, Rouhani said, although he said some areas of the shrines, such as narrow corridors, would stay shut.
The president said restaurants would also reopen after Ramadan and sports activities would resume without spectators. Universities, but not medical schools, would reopen on June 6, Rouhani added.

Reuters contributed to this report.