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Iran’s Supreme Leader vows ‘Palestine will be liberated’

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who on Wednesday dismissed US President Donald Trump's "wants and whoppers"
HO (Iranian Supreme Leader's Website/AFP)
'Trump has declared war against Muslims and Christians in the Middle East', Khamenei said

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s upcoming decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is proof of United States meddling in the region, further vowing his support for the liberation of Palestine.

“They claim they want to announce Quds [Jerusalem] as the capital of occupied Palestine is because of their incompetence and failure,” Khamenei said according to Reuters, citing his official website as the source. Adding that, “on the issue of Palestine, [US] hands are tied and they cannot advance their goals” and so “have to start a war in the region to protect the security of the Zionist regime.”

President Hassan Rouhani, mirroring his co-leader's words in a speech to officials in Tehran, said that Iran "will not tolerate a violation of Islamic sanctities" and that "Muslims must stand united against this major plot."

Since the advent of the new American president, US-Iranian relations have come under increasing strain as Trump cozies up to Saudi Arabia, Iran’s prime adversary in the region. This comes amid Trump’s initial intentions to scupper the long-awaited Iran nuclear deal, which has since been followed by a barrage of anti-Iranian pieces of legislation passed in Congress in an attempt to limit its growing ambitions.

THOMAS COEX (AFP)

Echoing the warnings proclaimed by a host of Middle Eastern leaders, Israel’s arch-enemy Khamenei said, “Palestine will be liberated and the people people will win.”

“Trump has declared war against Muslims and Christians in the Middle East” continued the Supreme Leader, and the “Palestinians will take to the streets to do everything possible to pressure the United States to withdraw its decision.” Hamas on Saturday also appealed for an ‘intifada’, which translates from Arabic as ‘uprising’, urging the Palestinian people to, “stand up in the face of this brutal decision.”

Israel’s defense establishment and US embassies throughout the Middle East are readying for the possibility of this violent backlash, with the US instructing its missions throughout the region to be on high alert and brace for protests.

The Syrian government on Wednesday also added its voice to the growing chorus of warnings made by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey as well as the UN and EU, stating that, “this is a dangerous initiative by the US administration that clearly exemplifies the United States' contempt for international law," a foreign ministry official quoted by the official SANA news agency said.

ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP

Prime Minister Netanyahu is yet to speak out about the Embassy move and in an address to the Jerusalem Post Conference on Wednesday, many analysts waited with baited breath expecting Netanyahu to throw out a usual sound bite to his audience of diplomats. However, he refrained from commenting at all, and instead, in what could be perceived as a subtle show of support for Trump lauded the “irreplaceable” alliance between the US and Israel and celebrating growing US public support.

In a usual barrage of condemnation aimed at his enemy number one, Netanyahu did not shy away from mentioning his pet-topic amid Khameini’s earlier criticism regarding Trump's embassy move.

“Hezbollah would not last a day without the scaffolding provided by Iran,” he stated, whilst compelling his audience to take action against the Iranian regime in order “to protect the flames of liberty and progress.”

“We have to stop Iran now. I ask you to act now,” as, “the appetite of Iran’s expansionism grows stronger with time” Netanyahu stated, days after his assertion that Iran will be prevented from establishing a permanent presence in Syria and an alleged Israeli air strike attack on an Iranian arms depot.

JIM WATSON  (AFP/File)

President Donald Trump faces a key decision this week over Jerusalem's status, potentially reversing years of US policy and prompting a furious response from the Palestinians and the Arab world.

Trump has yet to make his final decision, US officials have said, but he is now expected to stop short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem -- though he may still recognize the city as Israel's capital.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and previous peace plans have stumbled over debates on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites..

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