Iranian protesters say destroying Israel is Muslim world's top priority


Rouhani told reporters that the rally was Iran's response to the us 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.

Sadegh Sofiyani, a retired teacher, said protesters were "soldiers of the supreme leader", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said in 2015 that Israel would cease to exist in 25 years.

This year's commemoration coincided with an intensifying battle for influence in the region between Shia Iran and its Sunni arch rival Saudi Arabia, Gulf neighbours which severed diplomatic relations in January 2016. Members of Iran's Ayatollah regime were seen marching alongside civilians in Tehran, during which slogans against Israel and the United States were chanted.

Chants against the Saudi royal family and the Islamic State group mingled with the traditional cries of "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" at Jerusalem Day rallies across Iran on Friday.

"Daesh (IS), America and Israel are all the same".

Iran also displayed three surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar — the type that Iran used this week to target the Islamic State group in Syria.

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On Sunday, Iran fired six 750-kilometre (470-mile) range missiles at an IS base in eastern Syria, days after the jihadist group claimed twin bombing and shooting attacks in Tehran. "The Saudi Arabian regime is not Muslim - they are allies of Israel".

Senior Iranian government, legislative and military officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and the Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, participated in the rallies.

Reformist sites posted videos showing hardliners shouting "down with liar" and "down with the American cleric".

In addition to Zolfaqar, capable of reaching the targets at 700 km distance, the IRGC's Qadr missiles were also erected on trucks in the streets. On the eve of "Day of Al-Quds, ' the Arabic name of Jerusalem, Khamenei valued that day as "crucial not only to defend an oppressed people expelled from their land; (But rather), as a real fact, we are fighting against an oppressive and tyrannical political system".

The concept has since been unofficially adopted by several countries around the world, and often expresses opposition to Zionism as a whole as well as the occupation of the Palestinian Territories and the importance of Jerusalem as a holy city in Islam.