Tens of thousands of people marched in Tehran at the "Quds Day" rally, an annual regime-sanctioned demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians and against Israel
Tens of thousands of people marched in Tehran on Friday at the "Quds Day" rally, an annual regime-sanctioned demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians and against Israel.
The television showed large crowds in major cities, carrying banners of "Death to Israel" and "Death to America." Many demonstrators also brandished portraits of the supreme leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and the founder of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Imam Ruhollah Khomeini.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who attended the rally in Tehran, said that the potential recognition of a Palestinian state by the United Nations should only be a "step forward" for the "full liberation" of Palestine.
"The recognition of an independent Palestinian government is not the ultimate goal... (but) only a step forward for the full liberation of the Palestinian land," Ahmadinejad said at Friday prayers at Tehran University.
"The Zionist regime is the hotbed for germs and cancerous cells. If they persist even in a very small parcel of the Palestinian land, they will move again... and harm everyone" in the region, he said in comments broadcast on television.
Ahmadinejad reiterated that the Holocaust was a "lie" which he said was used as an excuse for Israel's creation. "The goal of all believers and justice seekers should be focused on the disappearance of the Zionist regime," he said as the worshippers shouted "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."
He also warned Israelis that they "had no place" in the Middle East. "Your era is over. It is in your interest to return to your homes... You have no place in our region and among our nations."
Ahmadinejad also warned the West against "interference" in the region, which has been the scene of political crises and popular uprisings in recent months. "Freedom, justice and free election... are the legitimate rights of all people but we should be careful (because) they will not be born out of the guns of NATO and US forces," Ahmadinejad said.
"Any government that does not have good relations with its people and deprives them of liberty and justice does not stand a chance of (keeping) its rule," he said. "But the solution does not lie with the intervention of NATO forces and oppressors."
On Thursday, Ahmadinejad said in an Iftar banquet for the ambassadors of Muslim countries in Tehran that Al-Quds Day is the day of call for justice and could be a starting point for an end to the "Zionist regime."
The Iranian President described Israel as a “prejudiced, racist and terrorist regime” which persistently jeopardizes nations and wages wars and commits crimes against them.