During Friday prayers held at the University of Tehran campus on April 5, 2002, which were attended by thousands, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah 'Ali Khamenei called on Yasser Arafat to resist Zionist pressure to the death and attacked the U.S. stance on Israeli-Palestinian fighting, equating President George W. Bush with Hitler. Following are excerpts from the speech:
The Zionist Regime and the Palestine Issue
"The Zionist regime, as the symbol of bloodthirstiness, barbarianism, and indifference towards all rules of ethics and human rights, is standing on one side of the barricade, and the desperate, brave and oppressed Palestinian nation, on the other side."
"The Palestine issue is not merely an Islamic issue, but one with global dimensions in which the humanity of all mankind is at stake, and therefore, any human being is entitled to judge and react to it, relying on human ethics and values."
Iran's Stance on Bush & U.S.
"Despite the collective global reaction, the U.S. administration has thus far adopted the worst possible stances, defending the crimes and military operations of the Zionist army… while still fully supporting the Zionists… this person [Bush] also asks for the Israeli army's retreat from the recently occupied Palestinian territories, while everyone knows that the wild beasts ruling the Zionist regime will never heed such remarks the slightest bit."
"The stances adopted by the U.S. president [by abandoning the Kyoto Protocol and ABM treaty and by inviting Western countries to join the front against 'the Muslims and the 'axis of evil''] have all been in direct contrast with global peace, and we must realize which hands [acting] behind the scenes direct him and the other U.S. authorities…"
"Had it not been due to the green light [given by] the U.S. administration, the Zionist regime would have never dared to create the current catastrophic conditions, and that is why the U.S. administration shares responsibility for all the crimes committed by the Israeli army these days."
Khamenei rejected President Bush's recent statements regarding Iranian involvement in Palestinian activities, saying that these accusations "merely lead to global wrath and hatred against America, and today there is no country as hated as America throughout the Islamic world."
Khamenei added that the logic upon which American foreign policy is based is the country's military strength: "The world has already seen these Hitlers. Earlier [in world history] Hitler intended to do the same, but both the crushing defeat of Nazism, and the shameful defeat of America in Vietnam have proven the fact that relying on gun power results in nothing but defeat and self-humiliation."
"No power, even nuclear capability… can destroy this nation… The power of Allah is the primary factor in the power of the nations, and anyone wishing to challenge the nations' will and power… will be crushed and annihilated… This will be America's bitter end."
On Martyrdom Operations
"The fighting… inside occupied Palestine is definitely a crushing defeat for the Zionist regime, and such combatant Palestinian organizations as Hamas, Fatah, the People's Front [sic] for the Liberation of Palestine, the Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, and other organizations have rightly realized that the enemy is impotent in the face of their martyrdom-seeking [i.e. suicide bombings]."
On Arafat and Martyrs
"Yasser Arafat too conveyed a message that he is willing to be a martyr! This is a good decision. We hope that he will not back down from this decision, and will stand behind his words. Anyone who chooses the way of Allah and becomes a martyr remains – his legacy and his personality remain. But anyone who does not follow the path of self-sacrifice – his body may remain several mornings, but his personality and identity will vanish. Shahada! [Martyrdom!] The entire Palestinian nation has chosen the way of shahada, and we hope that the officials of the Palestinian Authority too, will stand behind their words and follow the path of their fellow Palestinians and never surrender."
The Palestinian Intifada
"The [Zionist] enemy grows weaker every day… The Zionists hope to come with their iron boots and with their steel missiles and lances, …[and] wear down the Palestinian people, subdue them, and silence the Intifada. But… day by day, the Intifada's flames rise higher and higher… Now there is discord among them… Some have no courage; they have lost their morale, they are weakened, and there is discord among them. They no longer believe in their future; they do not see a clear future for themselves. These Zionists are usurpers, confused and hasty, and their words and deeds prove this. Indeed, these events are bitter and distressing for the Palestinian people – but for the [Zionist] enemy, they are exceedingly bitter."
The Iranian Solution
Khamenei reiterated Iran's proposal for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "There is only one logical solution… All the Palestinian refugees should return from Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, and the other Arab countries to their motherland, Palestine. [Only] the people closely connected to it [the homeland] [must return]; we are not referring to the people who were brought here from afar [i.e. from Europe]. The people who were in Palestine prior to 1948 are the Palestinian nation – the Muslims, the Christians, and the Jews. They should choose the nature of their desired political system… This is democracy!… This proposal, based on the soul of democracy and the rules of human rights, is quite logical, and very practical, and therefore I encourage all Arab and Islamic countries, as well as all other world nations, governments, and global communities to aim for its realization."
Khamenei criticized the outcome of the Arab League summit in Beirut and the OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) ministerial summit in Kuala Lumpur, and urged Arab and Islamic countries to impose an oil embargo on Israel and countries maintaining friendly relations with the 'Zionist regime.' Stated Khamenei: "If the Islamic countries would employ a [measure] similar [to America's wheat embargo] in response [to the Zionists' crimes], take advantage of this means [oil embargo], and only for one single month, in order to prove their real support for the Palestinian nation, stop exporting their oil to Israel and its allies and friends, it would shake the whole world!"
Khamenei further stated that, "The Islamic world should seriously consider" severing all political and economic relations with the Zionist regime. Khamenei continued, "Such moves would be cherished by their people, and those governments that would adopt them will be supported by their people..."