Iran's Khamenei says fight against Israel is a public duty


FILE PHOTO: Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised speech in Tehran, Iran, January 8, 2021. Official Khamenei Website/Handout via REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's Supreme Leader called on Muslim nations on Friday to keep fighting against Israel.

"The fight against this despotic regime is the fight against oppression. And this is a public duty to fight against this regime," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech.

Khamenei was speaking on Iran's annual Quds Day, which uses the Arabic name for Jerusalem, held on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Opposition to Israel is a touchstone of belief for Shi’ite-led Iran, which backs Palestinian and Lebanese Islamic fighter groups opposed to peace with the Jewish state, which Tehran does not recognise.

"Muslim nations' cooperation on Quds (Jerusalem) is a nightmare for the Zionists," Khamenei said.

Iranian officials have called for an end to Israel, including by a referendum that would exclude most of its Jews while including Palestinians in the region and abroad.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the government to cancel its annual Quds Day parade. But Iranian state media showed footage of motorcyclists and vehicles flying Palestinian and Lebanese Hezbollah flags driving through Tehran streets.

They also published pictures of people burning Israeli and American flags.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Catherine Evans and Timothy Heritage)

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