Iranians who support the ongoing Hamas insurgency in southern Israel have celebrated in Tehran’s Palestine Square on October 7.
Hamas began the biggest Palestinian operation against Israel earlier in the morning. The surprise offensive began with the firing of a barrage of rockets, which have reportedly hit positions in Tel Aviv, Sde Boker, Arad, Dimona, and Jerusalem. According to Hamas’ armed wing, more than 7,000 rockets were fired from the besieged Gaza Strip on Saturday, with more than 300 killed on both sides following reprisal attacks into Gaza City, according to reports.
Iran has a long history of supporting Palestinian moves against Israel, which it does not officially recognise since Islamist revolutionaries broke off relations with the Jewish state in 1980. During the tenure of the previous regime of the Shah, Iran used to have regular flights to Israel, with thousands of Israeli and Jewish Iranians travelling between the two countries.
In the video from the demonstrations, people are heard repeatedly shouting “Death to Israel,” as has become common over the years of groups supportive of Palestinian liberation.
A group of people from Tehran gathered in Palestine Square in Tehran on October 7 evening and expressed their joy and happiness over the “historic victory of the resistance” by declaring their support for the extensive operation of the Palestinian resistance forces against the Zionist army, Tehran Municipality linked-Mehr News Agency reported.
Iranians, Lebanese and other Levantine Arabs gathered in Palestine Square to rapturous music playing large screens and choirs singing chants of support of the Hamas operation.
The Islamic Republic of Iran reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to supporting the Palestinian people, as stated by the Chief Secretary of the Supreme Coordination Council.
In a digital commentary on October 7, Mohsen Rezaei reflected on the actions of Palestinian factions against Israel.
Rezaei said, "The evident decline of the Zionist occupiers’ underscores Palestine's conclusive stance on resistance, not just against the Zionist entity but also in relation to international bodies and Islamic governance. Moving ahead, the Palestinian cause looks solely to divine providence and its citizenry for guidance." The Chief Secretary further emphasised Iran's unwavering allegiance to its age-old promise of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Palestinians.
At the sixth International Solidarity Conference for Palestinian Youth, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi commended the operation as "remarkable".
"Let it be known that we endorse this operation and are assured that the Resistance Front echoes this sentiment," stated Rahim Safavi. He further pledged Iran's continued support for the Palestinian resistance "until Palestine and al-Quds are liberated." Safavi strongly disapproves of the global community's muted response to Israeli acts of violence, noting that such passivity has green-lighted Israel's systematic targeting of Palestinian children.
"Recent data indicates that 37 Palestinian children have tragically lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces. 2023 is shaping up to be the most devastating year for Palestinian children in recent memory. These young lives were taken by direct Zionist gunfire, and concurrently, numerous Palestinian children and young adults face imprisonment and severe penalties."
Russia’s role questioned
In the torrent of comment that follow the start of what Israel is already calling a war, some commentators have linked Iran’s increasingly close relations with Russia to the Hamas attack, claiming that Moscow together with Iran are behind the assault. However, long-time observers, while conceding that Hamas does maintain relations with Moscow, say it is unlikely Moscow played any role in the assault.
“Guys, seriously, I’ve been covering Hamas for the majority of my career, just because they have relations with Russia doesn’t mean they are working with them here, particularly when Russia’s strategy of keeping Israel out of Ukraine has worked well for Putin,” said Oz Katerji, a British-Lebanese conflict journalist who covers the Middle East conflicts.
Nevertheless, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov threw Russia’s weight behind Hamas, calling for peace and an independent Palestinian state.
"We call for an immediate ceasefire and a peace plan based on the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Lavrov said in a statement released on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs twitter account.
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