August 7, 2013 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1006

Iranian Qods Day 2013: The Uprising In The Arab World Is Islamic, Aimed Against The U.S. And Israel; 'Israel Cannot Last'

August 7, 2013 | By A. Savyon, Yossi Mansharof, and E. Kharrazi*
Iran | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1006

Iranian President Hassan Rohani in Qods Day march; the sign behind him that says "Down with U.S.A." in English says "Death to America" in Persian and Arabic.


As it does every year, the Iranian regime marked Qods (Jerusalem) Day (Rooz-e Qods) on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, which this year fell on August 2, as "a day of the Islamic world's solidarity with the Palestinians and with the struggle against the crimes of the oppressing Zionist regime."[2]

Several notable points of Qods Day this year were:

1) The Iranian regime is using Qods Day to establish its own narrative with regard to the roots of the Arab Spring; it calls it "the Islamic awakening" and says that it must unite the Muslims – that is, Sunnis and Shi'ites – worldwide against the enemy – that is, Israel and the U.S.

2) However, when Iranian spokesmen are asked to explain how it is that Sunnis and Shi'ites are fighting each other in the various Arab countries, they claim that Israel, and sometimes also the U.S., is behind these internal clashes – and that among other methods they are using Salafi circles in Egypt or Syria for their purposes.

3) Regime officials called, either openly or by insinuation, for the elimination of the State of Israel and clarified that Tehran is against any Palestinian-Israeli reconciliation.

4) The renewed struggle for the leadership of the regime, between the circles of Hashemi Rafsanjani and the camp of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, was also expressed on Qods Day. The Jomhouri-e Eslami daily, which is affiliated with Rafsanjani, criticized the fact that the Qods Day main ceremony's central speech was delivered by outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is known for his extremism, and that no opportunity to speak was offered to the more moderate president-elect, Hassan Rohani, who was sworn in the day after Qods Day.

The following are excerpts of regime officials' statements on Qods Day 2013.

Establishing The Iranian Narrative: It's "The Islamic Awakening" In Egypt And Syria; Israel Is Using The Salafis There For Its Purposes

Ramazan Sharif, spokesman for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and head of the organization's Jerusalem and Intifada headquarters, said at July 31 press conference in Tehran on the eve of Qods Day: "The enemy is attempting to divide the Shi'ites and the Sunnis. The Koran teaches us that we must not spill Muslim blood. Likewise, we must prevent the West from taking over all the countries of Islam and from letting the infidels conquer [any] part of the lands of Islam.

"The Koran calls us to unity. The independence and territorial integrity of the Islamic world must be preserved – no split in the Islamic countries must be allowed."

Saying that one of the main slogans for this Qods Day was "Support for the Oppressed Syrian People Which Opposes The Western Plots," he added that another message of this day is that "the Egyptian people have the right to establish a free regime based on Islamic values and condemnation of the U.S. efforts in Egypt, because a government [i.e. Mursi's government] that rises to power based on laws that it passed need not reach such a situation."[3]

Also, the statement signed by 207 Majlis members maintained that the resistance of Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad against the Israeli regime, together with the Iranian nation’s support for resistance movements, had prepared the ground for the Islamic Awakening and the uprising of Muslims and freedom-seeking nations against Washington and Tel Aviv, and had jeopardized their interests in the region. "The Muslim nation of Iran along with other Muslims and freedom-seekers will once again stand up and announce its support for the Palestinian nation and other Muslim nations," the statement read.[4]

In an editorial published the day before Qods Day, the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, noted: "The Islamic awakening and the Islamic resistance in the past three decades have made Palestine a bone in the throat of Zionism... It is not unreasonable [to assume] that the Zionist regime is playing a covert role in igniting the war in Syria and in the unrest in Egypt. In this way, the Zionists are trying to whip up storms in the neighboring countries, and to create for themselves a security margin. Nevertheless, the significant role played by the Syrian army – with the help of Hizbullah and with counsel from Iran – in the gradual purging of the armed terrorist groups from Al-Qusayr, Al-Khalida, and parts of the Homs region has again returned the winning card to the resistance axis. What makes this Qods Day doubly important is the same all-out Hebrew/Western/Arab (reactionary) effort to make [people] forget the role played by the Zionist cancerous growth in the regional crises and disputes. As the creator of the lofty idea of Qods Day, the Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini, said: 'Qods Day is the day of Islam, and Israel must be wiped off the map of the world'..."[5]

The Jomhouri-e Eslami daily wrote in an editorial: "In light of the victory of the popular revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, and the arrival of the revolution in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, the UAE, and the other Persian Gulf states, the Zionist media warned that these revolutions are strictly popular, and that their first ramification will be the danger they pose for Israel. Accordingly, [the Zionist media called] for the immediate implementation of the [Zionist] plan for bringing Salafi extremists and infidels into this arena, in the most effective way possible, so that the extremists can ride the waves that have awakened and can divert the revolutions from their main path. Thus, Syria, which was part of the front line of the resistance front, will fall to the extremists...

"The defamation of Islam and of the revolutions that draw inspiration from Islam will pave the way to a struggle between secular groups and the [Islamic] revolutionaries; thus the fate of the revolutions will hinge on internal wars and national and ethnic disputes, in which the revolutionaries will fall, as is happening now in Egypt and Tunisia... The Muslims have no more opportunities or means to fight their enemies, including the dictators [i.e. the heads of their regimes], and the Zionist regime. The front line of the anti-Zionist front and of the resistance forces will pay a price for the struggle against the extremists... and the actual threat against the Zionist regime will be eliminated, or will at the very least [be downgraded to a mere] potential threat.

"The most urgent measure that can be taken for Palestine on the threshold of Qods Day this year is for the Muslims to try to eradicate the plague of the extremist Salafis and infidels from the body of the Islamic world. This is a threat to Islam and to all the Muslims, and a new threat to the sacred Palestinian aim which most Muslims, Shi'ite and Sunni, consider to be the most [important] issue [of all]. And as the Imam Khomeini said several times, if unity is achieved, they [the Muslims] can easily liberate Palestine and Jerusalem from the regime of the cancerous growth, the Zionists."[6]

In a Qods Day announcement, the Global Ahl-e Al-Bayt Foundation, which is subordinate to the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated, "Throughout the Islamic world, the oppressing Zionists are hatching bizarre and convoluted plots, with the support of America and Europe, in order to extend their miserable lives by a few more days. The Muslim versus Muslim war, and the killing of the brothers in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq, has ensured security margins for the false [Israeli] regime and embroiled the Islamic armies – which should be a keen sword against Israel – in internal issues. The sowing of disputes between the Shi'a and the Sunna, and the provision of an opportunity to the Salafis and the infidels to do anything they wish, are other parts of this convoluted plot, which is led by the heads of the arrogance [i.e. the West, headed by the U.S.]."[7]

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said: "The Zionist regime is today in the worst possible situation that it has ever known, and therefore it is attempting to sow fitna and division among the Muslim countries... such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon... Drawing the attention of world public opinion will undoubtedly have an impact favorable to the resistance in the [Israeli-Palestinian] reconciliation talks."[8]

Calling For The Destruction Of The State Of Israel

In his address at the Qods Day ceremonies, outgoing Iranian president and the main speaker at the ceremony Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "The Zionists must not think that they have found an opportunity to save themselves. The era of their sarcastic smile and joy will not last for long. The main wave of awakening is on the way; with God's grace, soon all the nations will expose and thwart their [i.e. the Zionists'] plans. You [i.e. the Zionists] have no place in the region."[9]

IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif said: "The Iranian nation recommends to the group of countries that have not yet awoken from their coma that they join the great human movement [against Israel], now that they see the calls of 'Death to Israel' across the world... As long as the oppressing Zionist regime exists in the region, no process can achieve peace, security, and stability there... In the past 65 years [since Israel's establishment], all these reconciliation plans have gained no achievement for the Palestinian nation – but they have given the Zionists an opportunity to continue the[ir] oppression and crime... The only language that the Zionists and their supporters understand is violence."[10]

A Kayhan editorial, titled "Israel Cannot Last," stated: "The reconciliation talks, whether in the American-Zionist version or the Arab-reactionary version, aspire to adopt the existence of the savage and false Israeli regime, but without the Zionist regime's complete removal from the political geography of the region, there is no doubt that the Middle East will never know tranquility. The processes set in motion today to shift [the direction of] the Islamic awakening with a scheme of [Muslim] fratricide, in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Syria, and others, is aimed at satisfying the illegitimate interests of the infanticidal Zionist regime. Liberating Jerusalem from the bloody talons of the worst oppressors and occupiers that the human race [has ever known] – the Zionists – is an undeniable inevitability... Tomorrow, the Muslim nations will come to the arena once again, and will call to 'liberate Jerusalem.' [That] morning is nigh, and Jerusalem will be liberated soon..."[11]

Jomhouri-e Eslami wrote in another editorial that the Iranian people will not retreat a single millimeter despite the pressure from the U.S. and the Zionists, and added that the Qods Day demonstrations had showed that they were even more determined. These demonstrations, it said, had given the Zionists the message that "they will act unconditionally to implement the recommendation of Imam Khomeini, who demanded support for the oppressed Palestinian nation in order to uproot the cancerous growth – the Zionist regime – from the region." It is clear, the editorial added, that the aim of the U.S. and AIPAC is to remove the Iranian regime and to preserve the Zionist regime, but that the "nations of the region are rising up as best they can, and are determined to liberate the Palestinian lands form the contamination of the existence of the Zionists." [12]

In a Qods Day announcement, the Basij noted: "...The oppressing Israel, heavily besieged by the Islamic Awakening, [suffers] from negative emigration, and is nearing its final collapse. Accordingly, the marking of World Qods Day and the revolutionary uprising of the Islamic ummah has a greater impact on world public opinion today than at any other time, and terrifies the despicable leaders of the arrogance [i.e. the West, led by the U.S.] and the evil leaders in the White House. The marking of this important [day] brings us one step closer to the implementation of the global Islamic government." The announcement went on to call on every Iranian citizen to participate in Qods Day ceremonies in order to "call on the peoples of the world to launch an all-out rebellion against the Great Satan and the hands working for it."[13]

The concluding slogans of the Qods Day marches included "the only solution for the Palestinian issue is dismantling the Zionist regime," and a call for "the return of the [Palestinian] refugees, and the holding of free elections." The slogans also condemned the Arab governments and the countries of the world that they claimed were ignoring Israel's attempt to destroy the historic and national identity of Palestine.[14]

A Reflection Of The Struggle For The Leadership Of Iran Between Rafsanjani's Camp And Khamenei's Supporters

Jomhouri-e Eslami also criticized the choice of outgoing president Ahmadinejad as the main Qods Day speaker, explaining that on past Qods Days he had only spouted slogans and had never said anything "scientific or researched." Furthermore, it stated, no one in the world would pay any attention to anything he might say, because he was to leave office in a few days.

At the same time, the daily criticized the failure to invite president-elect Rohani to speak, despite his thorough knowledge of international and regional issues, and concluded that the organizers of the ceremony were deliberately ignoring the reality of Iranian society and the expectations of the Iranian public. It stated: "Hasn't the time come for the senior regime officials to understand the clearest possible message sent by the people on election day??"[15]

Qods Day Posters

Below are two Qods Day posters from, which is close to the IRGC.[16]

*A. Savyon is Director of the Iranian Media Project at MEMRI; Y. Mansharof and E. Kharrazi are Research Fellows at MEMRI.


[2] Jomhouri-e Eslami (Iran), August 1, 2013.

[3] Fars (Iran), July 31, 2013.

[4] Press TV, Iran, July 29, 2013.

[5] Kayhan (Iran), August 1, 2013.

[6] Jomhouri-e Eslami (Iran), July 31, 2013.

[7], July 31, 2013.

[8] ISNA (Iran), July 31, 2013.

[9] Fars (Iran), August 2, 2013.

[10] Fars (Iran), July 31, 2013.

[11] Kayhan (Iran), August 1, 2013.

[12] Jomhouri-e Eslami (Iran), August 3, 2013.

[13], (Iran), July 31, 2013.

[14] Fars (Iran), August 2, 2013.

[15] Jomhouri-e Eslami (Iran), July 29, 2013.


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