December 20, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 11031

Iranian President Raisi: '[The Massacre] Carried Out By The Palestinian People And The Children Of Gaza Was Legitimate Self-Defense'; 'In Every Place Where There Was Rivalry Between American Forces And Supporters Of The Resistance, The Resistance Forces Triumphed'

December 20, 2023
Iran, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 11031

In a blitz of media interviews and speeches on November 23, 2023, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi praised Hamas's October 7 "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood" – Hamas's invasion of southern Israel in which over 1,200 Israelis were murdered and over 200 were kidnapped. Justifying the massacre, Raisi termed it an act of Palestinian "legitimate self-defense" because of Israel's "occupation," and called for the continuation of the "punishment" of Israel.

Raisi also praised Iran's Islamic Revolution for having changed the conflict against Israel, which had until that time, he said, been unsuccessfully waged by the Arab states. He said that it was the model of Iran's Islamic Revolution that enabled the resistance axis's many victories against Israel, including the victory of "Operation Al-Aqsa Flood."

Declaring victory for the Palestinian people, who, he said, had proven capable of completely defeating Israel, he added that Israel was in fact already defeated, as proven by its concealment of its true casualty figures. He asserted that without American support, Israel would have already been completely destroyed, and although he had already declared Hamas and the Palestinians the victors in the war, he went on to call for leveraging maximum pressure against Israel by severing economic and political ties with it so that it would capitulate and agree to a ceasefire.

He went on to credit Iran's Islamic Revolution with bringing the Palestinian cause to the top of Islamic world's agenda, and expressed pride over the Palestinian blood shed for the actualization of the ideal of the Islamic Revolution – the destruction of Israel. In this context, Raisi equated Israel with the biblical Pharoah, saying: "It was Pharaoh's killing of [the Children of Israel's firstborn] children that led to the creation of the nation of the prophet Moses, and today we have no doubt that the martyrdom of the Palestinian children will put an end" to Israel.

With his statements, Raisi reflected the Iranian regime's ideology, according to which Iran is waging a war of civilizations against the U.S.-led West by means of the "Basiji school of thought." This school of thought constitutes the model for the establishment of Iran's resistance organizations, that is currently using to advance the Islamic civilization with which it envisions replacing America's alleged global hegemony. He reiterated his regime's claims that the U.S. created ISIS and that Iran and its proxy resistance groups defeated it, and that the Iran-led resistance movement always triumphs in conflicts against the U.S. because of its ideology of martyrdom and the blood of the martyrs. This, he added, is how Hamas triumphed over Israel.

Rejecting the notion, according to instructions by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, that Iran had had any advance knowledge of Hamas's October 7 actions, Raisi said that Iran has no connection to operations by the resistance axis member organizations, and that they carry out these operations independently and autonomously. Nevertheless, he warned that Israel's continuation of its operations in Gaza would likely lead to a widescale response on the part of the resistance axis.

This report will provide an overview of three interviews that President Raisi gave to media, as well as speeches that he made, on November 23, 2023.

Raisi At Basij Conference: "The Basiji School Of Thought Caused A Change In The Struggle Against The Zionist Regime"

At a November 23, 2023 Basij conference at the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic revolutionary regime, President Raisi gave an ideological speech in which he stated that the Islamic Revolution, led by Khomeini, assured the creation of a new civilization. The revolution, he said, had changed the fate of the struggle against Israel, and had caused the resistance axis's victory against Israel. Giving as an example the "Al-Aqsa Flood" operation, in which the Palestinians had proven their ability to defeat Israel, he reiterated the narrative promoted by the Iranian regime: that without the help of the U.S. and the West, Israel would collapse.

Raisi said: "...The people move under the leadership of the Imam [Khomeini] and the blood has conquered the sword [referring to the Israeli name for the current war in Gaza, Iron Swords]. All the uprisings prior to the [1979] Islamic Revolution [in Iran] are linked to the East and the West [of the Cold War era and the ideological struggle between communism in the East and liberal-democratic capitalism in the West]. The first independent movement was the Islamic revolutionary movement headed by the Imam Khomeini. Our nation bears this motto to this day. This was a new outlook that promised the creation of a new [Islamic] civilization. The leader of the revolution [current Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei] has said many times, with his wise guidance, that the Basij is [ideological] thought.

"The Basij is not an organization, a cult, or a special political movement. We must see in the Basij all the people, all the [social] strata, and all the those who are concerned for the Islamic Revolution and the creation of the civilization of the Islamic Revolution. In more precise terms, we must see in the Basij the entire Islamic ummah.

"For many years, the liberation organizations tried to liberate holy Jerusalem, but they were stuck around the [negotiating] table with various agreements. But after the Islamic Revolution, the Basij school of thought caused a change in the struggle against the Zionist regime. Inspired by the Islamic Revolution, the Shi'ites of southern Lebanon constituted the first core of the resistance in southern Lebanon. When Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, it was unbelievable, but later on, Hizbullah advanced without relying on either the East or the West, and trusting in God [that is, the implementation of the vision of the Islamic Revolution]. We witnessed the victory of the resistance in the 2006 Lebanon war, the 2008-9 Gaza war, and other wars.

"Today, the [Palestinians'] War of the Stones [that began in late 1987] became a war of missiles with confidence, and it arrived at a situation in which it shows that the Palestinian groups can defeat the Zionist regime. This confidence was revealed in the Al-Aqsa Flood [operation, during which] everyone acknowledged that Israel had collapsed. This was not analysis; this was the language of the leaders of the arrogance [the U.S. and Europe] who said this, several days after the Al-Aqsa Flood operation. They acknowledged that they felt that Israel had collapsed, and if not for the help of the arrogance, nothing would have remained of the name of the Zionist regime. This is the result of the Basij school of thought.

"During the time of the [activity of] ISIS, which was created by the Americans, the Basij movement of the Islamic world was created, in the spirit of the Basij [of Iran]. Today, they [the West and the U.S.] are looking in Yemen [for proof of the presence] of Iranian forces, but they must know that the resistance movement was created thanks to our [Iranian] martyrs. This school of thought is what has kept Yemen standing. As a result of this Basiji spirit, the resistance defeated the takfir groups [of ISIS and of the non-Muslims], and according to the words of the leader of the revolution [Khamenei], the enemy desired but did not succeed, while we desired and succeeded.

"'In every place where there was rivalry between the American forces and the supporters of the resistance, the resistance forces triumphed. Even today, in Palestine, it is absolutely triumphing. Israel announced at first that it wanted to occupy Gaza, and then said that it wanted to destroy Hamas and the [Palestinian Islamic] jihad, but they have failed, and today the entire world hates them.

"This hatred was awakened by virtue of the blood of the martyrs and the oppressed of Gaza. [Israel's] despair caused it to turn to murdering babies, and this is the ultimate failure. It was Pharaoh's killing of [the Children of Israel's firstborn] children that led to the creation of the nation of the prophet Moses, and today we have no doubt that the martyrdom of the Palestinian children will put an end to the false people of Israel and will confound all its supporters."[1]

Raisi To Resistance-Affiliated Media Outlets: "This Global Awakening, That Emerged Against The Zionist Regime, Its Crimes, And Its Supporters, Is Thanks To The Pure Blood Of The Palestinian Martyrs"

On November 23, 2023, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi gave an interview to five media outlets affiliated with the resistance axis: Al-Manar TV (Hizbullah), Al-Ittijah (Iraq), Palestine Today (Palestinian Islamic Jihad), Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), and Al-Masirah TV (Houthis). In it, Raisi attributed the fact that the Palestinian cause is a global priority to Iran's Islamic Revolution. Like the other top regime officials, he justified Hamas's October 7 massacres with the claim that Palestinian land is occupied and the attacks were therefore legitimate acts of self-defense.

Calling for Israel to be "punished" and stressing that the passage of time would not legitimize Israel's continued existence, he added that the October 7 "Al-Aqsa Flood" operation had proved Israel's fragility. Additional proof that Israel is collapsing as a result of the operation was, he said, the arrival of U.S. officials in Israel and the U.S. veto of the UN Security Council's ceasefire resolution – measures taken, he said, to prevent Israel's final collapse.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's interview with five media outlets affiliated with the resistance axis. Source: Fars (Iran), November 23, 2023.

Enumerating the achievements of Hamas – Iran's proxy – in accordance with Iran's interests, among them the alleged reversal of Saudi Arabia's normalization with Israel, which he said had led to Israel's isolation from the Islamic countries, Raisi went on to call on all countries to sever relations with Israel in order to pressure it to agree to a ceasefire. This call for a ceasefire did not stop him from crowning the Palestinians as the victor in the war against Israel, which according to him had already lost the war and was concealing its true casualty figures.

Although Raisi has claimed that the resistance axis has been carrying out its operations independently and with no Iranian involvement, he warned that the continued U.S. and Israeli attacks on Gaza would prompt "an expansion in the scope of the crisis and a response on the part of the resistance axis."

The following are the main points from Raisi's interview:

"...The issue of Palestine is the most important issue in the Islamic world – not just today, but since the victory of the Islamic resistance. Our Imam [Khomeini] said that the Islamic world's top priority is the cause of Palestine and the liberation of holy Jerusalem. Not only the Palestinians, but all Muslims in the Islamic ummah must be sensitive to this cause, and thank God, this is what they are doing.

"Al-Aqsa Flood was an extremely important operation in terms of its scope, the importance of the cause, and the extent of the fragility of the enemy [i.e. Israel] that was revealed. This operation shattered the Zionist regime's hegemony and discredited their claims about the Iron Dome and about its impenetrability. This operation was a great and bitter military, security, and intelligence defeat for the Zionist regime – in fact, it crushed it. The reason for this operation was the continued occupation of Palestinian land, and the crimes committed by the Zionist regime over 75 years...

"What the Palestinian people and the children of Gaza did was a continuation of their legitimate self-defense, according to which the Palestinians must act for the sake of their rights. The Palestinian people is entitled to defend itself, in accordance with all logic and all the principles and regulations, including human principles, Islamic principles, and international agreements and treaties. The right to this self-defense is legitimate."

"The Resistance Movement Has The Power Of Faith And The Power Of Divine Resistance"

"The Zionists do not have the endurance needed to stand up to the resistance [axis]. In fact, after the events of October 7, it can be said that the Zionist regime collapsed, and it was the Americans who came and protected it. The reason that the American and Western leaders came to the occupied territories [Israel] after Operation Al-Aqsa Flood was that they felt serious concern, that is, [concern that] the Zionist regime was about to collapse. Some of them even expressed this, saying this to official elements of several countries in the region. The defeat of the Zionists on October 7 was very severe, such that the Americans felt they had to come and intervene [to help them]. They felt that they needed to take control of the scene, with weapons, money, media, widespread propaganda, and psychological warfare...

"The Zionists said that their goal was to conquer Gaza, but they failed. They said that their goal is to destroy Hamas, but they failed. They said that they want to destroy the resistance groups, and they failed. If we were to assess the Zionists' operations thus far, we can say that they have not succeeded [at all].

"The killing of [Palestinian] women and children has created an anti-Zionist atmosphere that is unprecedented in the entire world. This means that today, the atmosphere of hatred regarding the Zionist regime and its supporters has become extraordinary and unique. I think that this atmosphere of hatred regarding the Zionist regime, this enlightenment, and this global awakening, that emerged against the Zionist regime, its crimes, and its supporters, is thanks to the pure blood of the Palestinian martyrs. This awakening is massive and must be honored.

"Today, the people of the world have understood that the West's claims that it champions human rights are untrue. What they have claimed about Palestine is not true, and what they have claimed about the rights of [Iranian] women, children, and people is not true. In my view, in light of this scandal that has happened in the world, global public opinion has understood that all the claims of the international organizations or of global apparatuses for justice, human rights, and struggle against oppression are false. Not only Muslims, Christians, or Jews have understood that all these claims are false and mendacious, but rather all the intelligent people in the world...

"The process of normalization [with Israel] has been completely reversed. Today, because of fear of its people, no country in the world dares to say that its relations with the Zionist regime are stable or normal. That's how anti-Zionist the atmosphere has become. The regime of arrogance [i.e. the U.S.] worked hard to sideline the Palestinian issue, by means of the previous agreements, and to remove it from the agenda, by means of normalization and various political developments. However, Operation Al-Aqsa Flood [on October 7] disrupted all these equations, and the issue of Palestine has become not only the first issue of the Islamic world, but the first issue of the entire world, and today the oppression of the Palestinians has created a global awakening. This is not an issue that can be sidelined...

"The resistance movement has the power of faith and the power of divine resistance, and they have used their initiative and creativity to prepare the tools that they now have, and they have stood up. They have turned the war of stones [i.e. the intifadas in Gaza and the West Bank] into a war of missiles. Despite its claims, the Zionist regime cannot defeat the resistance that it had aimed to destroy in 40 days. In fact, the winner here is the resistance.

"Why are the Americans blocking the [UN Security Council] resolutions? Because they feel that nothing has happened but the humiliating defeat of the Zionist regime – both the first failure and the failures that will come.

"Today, in the Western countries whose governments have announced their support the Zionist regime, between 500,000 and one million people are taking to the streets and condemning the crimes of the Zionists.  In America itself, many university students have begun marching. But they are not Palestinians – they are people from various countries in the world. Global public opinion wants a ceasefire and an end to the matter...

"The Zionist army has lost its morale. [After entering Gaza] they suffered blows from the resistance, and they are not announcing their exact casualty figures. They have suffered very heavy losses. They are not able to accept this much damage and this many casualties, because they have neither spirit nor faith. The Netanyahu government seeks to continue the war because it thinks this will save it. Within the Zionist regime, this [government] is under pressure from the families of the prisoners [i.e. the Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza], from the military itself, from the demoralization of the military, and from global public opinion. It is also under pressure from countries that have no response for their nations because of their support for the Zionist regime...

"Will the passage of time give [Israel] legitimacy and a claim [to its territory]? I told the president of one of the countries that I visited: If evil people took part of your land, would the passage of time create their ownership of it? That is, after two, three, or 10 years, would you come to the occupiers and the oppressors and tell them that it now belongs to them? He said it would not. I told him that the case of Palestine is exactly the same. Does occupation grant legitimacy after 75 years? Or ownership? [Time] does not bring legitimacy or ownership, and the aggressor and occupier must be expelled and punished, and must compensate for the damage it has caused. That is how it must be done..."

"All The Countries With Political Or Economic Relations With Israel Must Sever Them"; If The Americans And The Zionist Regime Continue To Attack, "There Will Be A Need To Do Something... The Resistance Groups Will Certainly Take Action"

"We have announced many times that the resistance groups do not receive orders from us. They have their own ability for analyzing, diagnosing, and deciding, and they operate based on their own decisions...

"We believe that the process of normalization with the Zionist entity was completely grounded today, and that the matter is sealed. Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, the resistance of the Palestinian people, and the martyrdom of thousands of women and children in Gaza have changed the equations in the Islamic world...

"All the countries with political or economic relations with Israel must sever them as quickly as possible, in accordance with the will of the nations, since this is one way to pressure the Zionist regime to stop its crimes in Gaza. Every country providing economic or military aid to this regime [Israel] must know that it is complicit in all the crimes committed in Gaza...

"If the Americans and the Zionist regime continue to attack, bomb, and kill women and children, there will be a need to do something to end these crimes. Also, the people who are defending against this invasion and these crimes [i.e. Hamas] must be helped. We believe that the expansion in the scope of this crisis is a natural outcome of these continued bombings, because the peoples' patience and tolerance has a limit...

"The resistance groups in the various areas of the region are taking action out of a sense of responsibility, and, as we have warned in the past, if these crimes do not stop and these tragedies continue, the resistance groups will certainly take action in accordance with their sense of responsibility... We are in no doubt regarding the victory and success of the Palestinians and the destruction of the Zionist regime, and we believe that the truth always triumphs, because that is God's will..."[2]

Raisi At Assembly Of Experts Meeting: "A Golden Screen Of Resistance Is Created Before The Eyes Of The World – And The 40 Days [Since October 7] Have Been Days Of Humiliation For The Enemy"

Also on November 23, at the presidential meeting with the Assembly of Experts, Raisi praised Hamas's October 7 massacres for their "humiliation of Israel" and for having prompted the world to hate Israel. He again asserted that in light of the fighting in Gaza, the West cannot accuse countries like Iran of human rights violations because of Western support for Israel. The following are the key points of his statements:

"A golden screen of resistance is created before the eyes of the world – and the 40 days [since Wactober 7] have been days of humiliation for the enemy. Today, the day of the ceasefire, the people's steadfastness is complete, and the enemy has achieved none of its goals. It wants to conquer Gaza and destroy Hamas, but has only [managed to arouse] public hatred of it worldwide.

"Not one of the Western countries can talk about human rights and support for the rights of women and children. This issue has become an historical irony, and has shown that the Westerners support Israel's racism and discrimination. The current world order is unjust and completely oppressive. It cannot put the oppressor in its place. The ineffectiveness of the Security Council and the United Nations has been exposed.

"Today, we must congratulate the Palestinian people, the resistance, and the families of the martyrs for this victory, and for the fact that a group with no air force, artillery, or tanks has managed to put the Zionist regime in its place. Their military structure cannot defeat steely faith. The Zionist regime has gone after women and children out of despair and helplessness – otherwise it would not be doing this. I believe that the international organizations have become ineffective, and the groups and nations that are awakening must take action in support of Palestine..."[3]

Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi. Source: Tasnim News Agency, November 23, 2023.


[1], November 23, 2023.

[2] Fars News Agency (Iran), November 23, 2023.

[3], November 23, 2023.

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