Massive Demonstrations In Tehran In Support Of West Bank, Gaza Rioters With PM-Israel-Violence
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) _ Millions of Iranians took to Tehran’s streets today in support of Palestinians who have rioted against Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Iran’s official news media reported.
Effigies of President Reagan and Israeli leaders were burned ″as a sign of Moslem nations’ revolutionary wrath against Zionism, imperialism and apartheid,″ the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The agency said Iranian President Ali Khamenei joined the demonstrators in the central Ferdousi square before marching on to Tehran University for weekly public prayers.
IRNA quoted Khamenei as saying that his message to the Palestinians was that ″they should resist and fight Zionism. This is the message of the whole Iranian people who chant the ‘Death to Israel’ slogan.″
The demonstrations were in response to a call by Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri on Moslem nations around the world to support Palestinian youths in their more than two weeks of rioting in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, during which at least 21 Palestinians have been killed.
Montazeri is the chosen successor of Iran’s fundamentalist spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Chanting ″Death to Israel″ and Death to America″ both in Persian and Arabic, crowds began converging on the university campus escorted by thousands of motorcycle-riding Islamic Revolutionary Guards, said Tehran Radio, which was also monitored in Nicosia, said.
Iranian Television carried scenes of the demonstrations.
In one main thoroughfare, a procession of chador-clad women, Revolutionary Guards and Iraqi prisoners of war marched behind two flatbed trailer trucks carrying scale models of the Dome of the Rock, an Islamic holy place within the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and an Israeli tank.
The crowd, raising the Star of David with the Dome in its center, chanted the Islamic battle-cry of Allahu Akbar, or God is Great, as the tank model was set on fire by a demonstrator.
The television said that a 10-point resolution passed by the demonstrators called on Moslem nations and Palestinian groups to assist the rioting youths in the West Bank and Gaza, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East War.
The resolution promised no direct Iranian support.
It ″reaffirmed Iran would direct all its capabilities toward the task of liberating Qods, or Jerusalem, after victory is achieved over (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein’s forces,″ the television reported.
Iran and Iraq have been at war since September 1980.
During the prayer service, Iranian Parliament Speaker Hashemi Rafsanjani said the Palestinian uprising was not against Israel alone, but ″also against the reactionary Arabs.″
He was referring to conservative Arab states of the Persian Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, whom Iran accuses of actively supporting Iraq in the war.