Visitors to the Twitter feed of Iran’s “supreme leader”on Monday were treated to the incongruous sight of multicolored balloons floating above a series of incendiary anti-Israel tweets.
The celebratory mood on what is normally a rather somber feed marks Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s 79th birthday — which falls on Tuesday, July 17, in the Gregorian calendar.
But as the last balloon disappeared from the screen, so did the jollity — leaving only a thread of threatening messages warning of the Jewish state’s coming destruction.
Denouncing US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” proposal for an Israeli-Palestinian peace as a “satanic, vicious plot,” Khamenei declared, “The turbulent dream that Al-Quds [Jerusalem] would be given to the Zionists will never come true.”
He continued: “The Palestinian nation will stand against it and Muslim nations will back the Palestinian nation, never letting that happen.”
As to his ultimate intentions towards Israel, Khamenei left little to the imagination in a further tweet.
“By God’s grace, the Palestinian nation will certainly gain victory over the enemies and will witness the day when the fabricated Zionist regime will be eradicated,” he vowed.
Khamenei’s birthday rant was excerpted from a speech he delivered in Tehran on Monday to organizers of Iran’s hajj — the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia that faithful Muslims are required to make at least once during their lifetimes.
In the same breath as attacking Israel, Khamenei also turned his ire on the Saudis — an increasingly common linkage among Iran’s leaders anxious about the common strategic interests between Jerusalem and Riyadh that have emerged in recent years.
With the hajj scheduled to begin on Aug. 19, Khamenei fanned tensions with Iran’s Saudi neighbor, asserting that Mecca’s holy sites “belong to all Muslims, not to the rulers of Saudi Arabia.”
Arguing that a “true” hajj must include a “disavowal of the infidels,” Khamenei told the gathered Islamic leaders that the pilgrimage “is the best opportunity and a practical scene to demonstrate the unification of religion and politics.”
Khamenei also called for a fresh investigation into a 2015 crush during the hajj that killed hundreds of pilgrims, blaming the tragedy on the Saudi authorities’ alleged indifference to the safety of the participants.
The defiant tone of Khamenei’s rhetoric has not wavered in the face of mounting pressures on Iran’s regime in the wake of the US decision in June to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. With the US expecting renewed sanctions on Iran to be locked in by November, the Islamic Republic has been convulsed by anti-regime protests in several cities, leading to thousands of arrests.
Protests against Iran’s rulers spilled into neighboring Iraq on Sunday, as two demonstrators were killed and dozens more were wounded by security forces during rallies and marches demanding an end to Iranian interference in Iraq’s national affairs.
In Baghdad, hundreds of protesters closed a highway at the entrance to the Iraqi capital’s northwestern Shula neighborhood, chanting “Iran, out out! Baghdad is free!” and “The people want to overthrow the regime,” the AFP news agency reported.
(c) The Algemeiner Journal