TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran staged anti-Israel rallies across the country on Friday, with protesters condemning Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and chanting “Death to Israel” as the powerful Revolutionary Guard displayed its ballistic missiles, including the type used this week in Syria.
Marchers in Tehran headed from various points of the city toward the Friday prayer ceremony at Tehran University campus grounds. Protesters burned the Israeli and the American flag, as well as effigies of Israeli leaders.
President Hassan Rouhani and other Iranian officials, including Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, attended the demonstration. State media reported that similar rallies were underway in other cities and towns in Iran.
The anti-Israel rallies are an annual event marking al-Quds Day, a historic Arabic name for Jerusalem. Iran sees it as an occasion to express support for the Palestinians and emphasize the importance of Jerusalem for Muslims.
Iran doesn’t recognize Israel and staunchly backs militant groups that are opposed to it, including the Palestinian Hamas that runs the Gaza Strip and the Lebanese Shiite militant Hezbollah group.
Rouhani told reporters that the rally was Iran’s response to the U.S. violations of the “rights of people” of Iran after the Senate last week approved new sanctions on Tehran over its missile program, something Congress is expected to decide on soon.
Rohani, in remarks carried by the official IRNA news agency, said Israel supports “terrorists in the region.” READ MORE