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November 10, 2023 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1726

The Iranian Regime's Doubletalk About The October 7 Hamas Invasion Of Israel: To The Muslims – '"Death To America" Is Not Only A Motto But A Policy'; To The West – Iran Has No Part In The Israel-Hamas War

November 10, 2023 | By A. Savyon*
Iran, Palestinians | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1726

Introduction

When it comes to the October 7, 2023 Hamas attack on Israel, Iran is talking out of both sides of its mouth. To the Iranian people and Muslims around the world, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian political and military leadership explain that Iran, at the head of the resistance axis, is leading the struggle against Israel and the West, headed by the United States. To Middle East media, Iran says that the Muslim ummah and the resistance axis, including Hizbullah in Lebanon, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Houthi militias in Yemen, and the Shi'ite militias in Iraq, Syria, and the Syrian Golan Heights, are the true front fighting a religious and cultural war against the front of lies and unbelief of the Jews and Christians in the West.

However, to the West, Iranian regime spokesmen insist that Iran had nothing to do with the Hamas massacre of civilians in Israel on October 7, and that Hamas acted on its own. Supreme Leader Khamenei and Hizbullah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah – his main proxy in the resistance axis – both worked hard to distance themselves from any responsibility for the October 7 atrocities carried out by the Palestinian branch of the Iranian axis.

Nevertheless, in his statements Khamenei has linked Iran, Iran's Islamic Revolution, and the Iran-led resistance axis to the events in Israel and Gaza. Iranian officials, including Khamenei himself, have said to the Iranian public that the war is between cultures and religions: revolutionary Iran's Islam (which aims to rule the Middle East and the world) versus Christianity, the Jews, and Western values and culture.[1]

One example of the doublespeak inside and outside Iran on this matter was the main statement at the November 4 Iranian national day marking the start of war against the "global arrogance" (i.e. the U.S.), which is the anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The statement, which was read out during the national parade for the occasion in Tehran, which this year was also dedicated to supporting the Palestinian people, warned the U.S., Britain, and France that the resistance could spread to them as well: "We hereby inform America, England, and France that the resistance axis is not limited to Gaza and Palestine and that if they do not stop the bombing and brutal killing of the oppressed residents of Gaza, you must consider every scenario and know that our identity is tied to instilling among the occupiers fear for their lives. Our weapons are impatient, and your skulls are in the crosshairs, and the price for the blood of the innocent will be your interests and lives."[2]

This report will review speeches by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and IRGC commander Hossein Salami about the October 7 massacre in southern Israel carried out by Hamas, which is the Palestinian proxy in Iran's resistance axis.

Khamenei: "The Battle Is Not Between Gaza And Israel – It Is Between Truth And Falsehood, And Between [America's] Arrogance And [Iran's] Faith… With Their Actions And Bravery, The Palestinians Humiliated The Plundering [Israeli] Regime And Its Supporters"

In a November 1, 2023 speech aired on Iran's Channel 1, Supreme Leader Khamenei described how the current fighting is not just by Israel versus Hamas or the Palestinians, but is rather a reflection of the Iranian leadership's worldview. He said that the war is between the world of falsehood and evil, as embodied by the U.S., Britain, Israel, and the rest of the Western world, and the front of truth, which comprises Iran and its resistance axis proxies Hamas, Hizbullah, the Houthis, and the other Shi'ite militias operating on its behalf. Khamenei said that Israel cannot fight the Palestinians without American support, and that without this support it would have been defeated in the first week of the war. He also mocked Western governments for accusing Iran of being behind pro-Hamas protests in the West.

The Muslim young people and elsewhere, he said, need this global battle explained to them so that they can be mobilized to adhere to the values of the Islamic revolution. He added that that the "Death to America!" motto chanted by Iranians at Friday prayers and at political, military, and religious gatherings is not just a slogan, but rather an Iranian policy that is being implemented on the ground – such as in the form of today's attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria by Shi'ite militias at Iran's orders.

Mentioning the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza following Israel's response to the Hamas-led civilian massacres, he consoled the Palestinians by praising Hamas for "defending their country [and] their homes" and for "humiliating" the West by exposing the lies of Western countries that, although they claim to carry the banner of human rights, have failed to condemn Israel. He also criticized Western politicians who have referred to the Palestinian "warriors" as terrorists, and called the Hamas attack a "wonderful lesson" for Israel, the U.S., and the other Western countries.

In addition, Khamenei called on the Arab and Muslim countries to join him by severing their political and economic ties with Israel, and went on to accuse the U.S. and its allies of committing war crimes in Gaza.

To view this clip of Khamenei's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

The following are the main points of Khamenei's speech:

"The situation between America and Iran is this: When you chant 'Death to America!' it is not just a motto – it is policy. I have stated the reasons for this previously. For many years, from the 1940s to the 1970s – that is, 30 years – the Americans did everything they could do against the Iranian nation. They struck at Iran any way they could – financially, economically, politically, scientifically, and morally. The revolution won in this situation. It dealt with such a corrupt and destructive regime, and it won, by the grace of God and the efforts of the Iranian nation, under the leadership of [my predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]…

"The Zionists who occupy and oppress Palestine rely on America's support. Without America's support, without the support of U.S. weapons, the corrupt and artificial Zionist regime would have been destroyed in the first week. It would have collapsed. The Americans are behind this [i.e. Israel's survival].

"Today, what is taking place in Gaza are the same things that [the Israelis] would do in Iran if they could. The catastrophe that is taking place in Gaza at the hands of the Zionists and with the help of the Americans – and actually by the Americans – is a unique catastrophe. In three weeks, they killed almost 4,000 children! Where in history have you seen such a thing? The Islamic nation must know what the issue is, and it must be familiar with the battle. The battle is not between Gaza and Israel – it is between truth and falsehood, and between [America's] arrogance and [revolutionary Iran's] faith. On one side stands the power of faith, against the power of arrogance [i.e. America]. Of course, the power of arrogance advances by means of military pressure, bombings, catastrophes, and crimes – [but] power of faith will overcome all of these, by God's grace.

"Our heart bleeds for the suffering of the Palestinian people, and particularly for the residents of Gaza. We are sad. But when we look closely, we see that the people who are winning on the ground are the people of Gaza and of Palestine. They have done great things. First of all, the Gazans removed the false mask of human rights from the faces of America, France, England, and others. They humiliated them with their patience, their steadfastness, and their unwillingness to surrender. The Gazans have mobilized the human conscience with their patience. Look at what is happening now in the world.

"In Western countries – in England, France, Italy, and various U.S. states – people took to the streets in large numbers, chanting anti-Israel and often anti-U.S. slogans. The leaders of these countries were humiliated. They truly have no remedy for this. They cannot make excuses for this. That is why we saw some idiot saying that Iran was behind the rallies in England. Perhaps the Basij in London is behind this... Or maybe the Basij of Paris!"

Khamenei: "One Of The Most Important Things The 'Al-Aqsa Flood' Did Was To Show How A Small Group [Hamas] – Who Are Fewer In Number Compared To [Israel]... Can, With Faith And Determination, Neutralize, Within Hours, The Product Of Years Of The Enemy's Criminal Efforts... This Is A Wonderful Lesson"

"Among the [examples of] true shamelessness displayed by Western politicians and Western media outlets today is their calling the Palestinian fighters 'terrorists.' Is someone defending his home a terrorist? Is someone defending his country a terrorist? The day the Germans, in World War II, went and conquered Paris, and the French fought the Germans, were the French fighters terrorists? Are they not called fighters, and are the pride of France? [But] the youth of Hamas and the PIJ are called terrorists? Shameless! Gaza's residents and fighters have shamed the liars of the world.

"One of the most important things the 'Al-Aqsa Flood' did was to show how a small group [Hamas] – who are fewer in number compared to [Israel], with very few supplies and infrastructure, but with faith and determination – can neutralize, within hours, the product of years of the enemy's criminal efforts. [This group] can humiliate the conceited governments and the global arrogance. With their actions, the Palestinians humiliated the thieving regime [i.e. Israel] and its supporters, with their courage, and, today, with their patience. This is a wonderful lesson. Of course, these crimes [by Israel in Gaza] shocked humanity, shocked everyone."

Khamenei: "The Ones Who Stood Against Islam, Against The Islamic Nation, Against Oppressed Palestine, Were The U.S., France, And The UK"

"I said this a few days ago, and I will repeat it now: We can expect more to come from the Islamic world. Muslim government should know that if they do not help Palestine today – anyone can help in whatever way – they are strengthening Palestine's enemy, who is [also] the enemy of Islam and humanity, and tomorrow, the same danger will threaten them. What Muslim governments must insist upon is an immediate cessation of these crimes they [Israel] are committing in Gaza. These bombings must stop at once. [Muslim countries] should block the export of oil and food to the Zionist regime. The Islamic countries should not maintain economic cooperation with the Zionist regime. [Muslim governments] must condemn this crime, this disaster, without hesitation or stammering, at all international forums. It is unacceptable that in an Islamic or Arab community, only a few leaders are speaking out, or that they are speaking with a double-edged sword, or that they are stumbling over their words. They must speak out clearly. What is happening is clear; The Zionist regime must be condemned, and the whole Islamic world must be mobilized against the Zionist regime.


Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei(Fars News, Iran, November 1, 2023)

"Of course, the blow suffered by the Zionist regime cannot be overcome. I emphasize and reiterate this now. Gradually, the words of the Zionist regime's agents are proving that the blow they suffered is not one that can be overcome. The Zionist regime is now helpless, confused, and lying to its people. It is also a lie that they are worried about their prisoners in the hands of the Palestinians. The bombings [of Gaza] might also destroy their prisoners [in Gaza]. Their expressions of concern for their prisoners [means] they are lying to their own citizens, and have no choice but to lie. The Zionist regime is now in shock; it has no options, it doesn't know what to do, and everything it does do stems from helplessness. This means it doesn't know what it should do. Without America's help, the Zionist regime would absolutely have been paralyzed within days.

"The Islamic world should not forget that in this important and crucial issue [the Palestinian cause] the ones who stood against Islam, against the Islamic nation, and against the oppressed Palestine were the U.S., France, and the UK. The Islamic world must not forget this, it must understand this. In its agreements, equations, and analyses, it should not forget who is standing [against] and exerting pressure on those oppressed people and this oppressed nation. It is not just the Zionist regime.

"Of course, we have no doubt that God's promise is truth. Those who do not believe in God's promise should not shock or weaken you with their negativity. God willing, the final victory will come, without delay, to the residents of Palestine and Palestine [itself]."[3]

IRGC Chief Salami In November 2 Speech: "The Torches Of Jihad Are Blazing... The World Is More United Against America Than Ever... Islamic Rule Requires Force, And The Enemy Understands Only The Logic Of Force"

Speaking to an audience of imams and Basij commanders from the greater Tehran area on November 2, 2023, IRGC commander Gen. Hossein Salami highlighted the connection between the power of belief, led by Iran's preachers, and the military force, as represented by the commanders of the Basij – Iran's paramilitary militia present that is active in every government and professional organization in Iran. Salami, like Khamenei, underlined that the front of religious belief is literally fighting Satan and demons (it should be noted that the Islamic Revolution refers to the U.S. as the Great Satan, and to Israel as the Little Satan). According to Salami, the world is shaped by perpetual war, and by the jihad that is being waged by Muslims fighting the U.S., Britain, Israel, and other Western countries that seek to destroy Islam and Iran. His main points were as follows:

"The mosque is the battlefield for fighting demons. For this reason, Satan has no influence in this community, because it has men and women who are pure and clear...

"Yesterday, in conversation with a group of this land's students, our Dear Leader [Khamenei] revealed a sad history, explaining to the young people the painful reality of the colonial rule of America and England over our beloved land, Iran, prior to the Islamic Revolution. Today, the enemies of Islam and Iran are exerting massive efforts to win the hearts and minds of our youth, and we are facing intensive [Western] media efforts aiming to connect [Iranian] teenage minds with the cunning history of the dark age of America.

"America, England, and Zionism are three sides of a bitter reality, and inseparable parts of a conspiracy and of outright evil. They work in three separate territories, with intertwined policies.  One hundred years ago, and until the dawn of [Iran's Islamic] revolution, the nation and state of Iran were under the influence of colonial tendencies with the direct presence and interference [of these countries], who nullified the nation's sovereign power. Since oil was discovered and the geographic location of the Islamic world was about to leap forward politically, America and England placed the lands of Islam under their direct rule, plundering the material and spiritual identity of these nations.

'They turned Iran into a satellite state of the U.S., and, in the war between the Arabs and Israel, they did not allow Iran to sanction the Zionist regime, and the Shah of Iran compensated for the shortage of oil in Israel [due to the Arab oil embargo]. Everything was in their hands, and the Shah of Iran was but a pawn in the American political chess game. Amid this darkness, then-U.S. president Nixon positioned Iran and Saudi Arabia as the twin pillars of America's policy in the region, for safeguarding America's regional and global interests. There are still those who want to instill this disastrous, dark time in the minds of Iranian youth, as the expertise of [Western] civilization.


IRGC commander Gen. Hossein Salami (Tasnim, Iran, November 2, 2023)

"The efforts of the Imam [Khomeini] and the revolution's leader [Khamenei] have brought the political geography of the Islamic world [i.e. Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine] into the political discourse of the Islamic world [i.e. Iran's Islamic Revolution] and made it an influential power element.

"The enemies captured dangerous bridgeheads in key parts of the Islamic world, such that the presence of the Zionists in the eastern Mediterranean constitutes a bloody knife in the side of the Islamic world. And in other areas, the enemies controlled Islamic countries, and their job was to sow the seeds of colonialism.

"The Zionists seized Palestine through terrorism and crime 75 years ago, and at the same time they sent the Muslim nations into profound ignorance. Even today, they are taking measures to politically blind the young people in the Islamic world – but when the flag of the Rule of the Jurisprudent is raised, there is no way for the arrogance [the U.S.-led West] to deceive the [Islamic] nation.

"The Zionists have launched many wars, but over the lifespan of the Islamic Revolution, the enemy brought every war that there was to the Islamic territories, and in the 45 years [since the revolution], the arrogance has sparked war in the Islamic lands in order to prevent the creation of a force called Islam. But the Muslims have understood that their happiness is through the path of jihad.

"Islamic rule demands force, and the enemy understands only the logic of force. This is why these lifegiving words, that improve knowledge and faith, are the main pillars of Muslim power. We learned today that jihad is the only path, because this is the only thing the enemy understands. Now, the torches of jihad are blazing. Of course, jihad is difficult, and is difficult to scale the peaks. The events [i.e. the Hamas massacre on October 7] were as effective in knowing the enemy as our decades of explaining our jihad. We have never been able to present this to the world like America has now presented itself to Gaza. Today, the world is more united against America than ever, and America's bloody policy is revealed to the world more than ever before.

"The first demand of jihad is love [of Islam] and hatred [of the enemy]. America and its allies have established this pillar [of Islam] in the hearts of the Muslims. The enemies will never win in Gaza.

"Today, Gaza has created in the hearts of Muslims the ability to wreak vengeance for decades on end. America's greatest uncertainty is that it cannot define victory in Gaza. Besieging and massacring a nation is a crime. That's not victory. Can the massacre of the Gazans prevent the imminent collapse of Israel? Today, Islamic history is at one of its more sensitive stages, and this is one of the most beautiful expressions of the victory of blood on the sword [a reference to the Israeli codename for the war ['Iron Swords'].

"The unity between the Basij and the mosque is our strongest fortress against the enemy. The home, school, and mosque are the three sides of our strength."[4]

Salami, October 30, 2023: "There Is No Way For The Infidels To Overpower The Muslims"

In an October 30, 2023 speech, Gen. Salami reiterated the Islamic revolutionary terminology and stressed again that the current was is a war of religion and culture. He said that the battle is between the truth of revolutionary Islam and the falsehood of the Western infidels. The following are the main points of his speech:

"Today we are witnessing a clear conflict between truth and falsehood. The army of infidels has brought all its strength and political might to the field, and it is trying to have falsehood [i.e. Islam and the West] triumph over Islam in a small land [i.e. Gaza]. They do not want a small, well-prepared, and lightly armed group [i.e. Hamas] to go down in history as a victor over falsehood. It is a fact that the infidels have arrived at the scene with every capability they have, and they all went to Gaza. This is a sign of the Ashura.[5]

"The arrogance [i.e. the U.S. and the West] see all their power in ensnaring the believers [i.e. the Muslims]. The arrogant ones throughout the entire Islamic world have stuck a knife in the body of Islam. In the eastern part, they created the Zionist regime, and elsewhere they created the takfiri community [i.e. ISIS]. They want to show that it is impossible to live in peace without relying on the Western countries. Most of the wars in the past 50 years were in the Islamic countries, in various cities in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, and elsewhere. This Western policy has buried the remains of Islamic civilization.

"Up until a few weeks ago, the Zionists believed that they were the most essential [part] of the enemy's cunning, because fear and insecurity existed only on the other side of the walls that they built [against the Palestinians] and that these [conditions] affected only the Palestinian people. The Zionists thought that since America, England, Germany, and France are their supporters, nobody would be able to reach them. They thought that they had advanced security systems, that everything was under their control, and that no movement was hidden from their eyes. They thought that they had a strong army, and they slept soundly with these thoughts. But on October 7, all these thoughts collapsed. Up until that day, they were able to give the impression that insecurity could not expand into the occupied territories [i.e. into all of Israel], but their greatest failure happened to them.

"Occupied Palestine, which is unjustly called Israel, was created from immigrants, since there is no such thing as a natural Israeli identity. No matter how much they bomb Gaza, it will remain, because its children will not surrender and because they say that this is their land and their identity. This is different from the people who came to this land for economic reasons and wealth [i.e. the Jews]. There is a constant and common fear of death among the Zionists [as opposed to the among the Muslims who seek martyrdom].

"The Israelis can no longer rely on their security apparatus, their army, or even on America, which always shows up to late [to help Israel]. They got lucky this time [that America came to help], but that may not happen next time. So they are bombing and killing women and children. This is no kind of victory, in any logic whatsoever – this is the height of failure. They have deployed many tanks outside the borders of Gaza, but they are not taking a single step forward, because war is not fought with weapons, but rather by men of faith with certain hearts, not uneasy and disturbed hearts. There is no way for the infidels to overpower the Muslims. They are destined to fail."[6]


IRGC commander Gen. Salami (source: Tasnim, October 30, 2023)

 

* A. Savyon is director of MEMRI's Iran Media Studies project.

 

[2] Kayhan (Iran), November 5, 2023.

[3] Khamenei.ir, November 1, 2023.

[4] Tasnim (Iran), November 2, 2023.

[5] The Ashura is the Shi'ite holiday marking October 10,  680, when the Imam Hussein, the son of Shi'a founder Ali and grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, claimed to control the Muslim empire at Karbala in 680, and on that day, in the Battle of Karbala, he was slaughtered together with 70 members of the family of Muhammad by the army of the Sunni caliph Yazid ibn Mu'awiya.

[6] Tasnim (Iran), October 30, 2023.

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