Iran's supreme leader calls for Israel's destruction in Twitter screed on anti-Israel holiday
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched into a lengthy anti-Israel diatribe on Twitter Friday as he marked Quds Day, a holiday held in Iran toward the end of the month of Ramadan meant to express support for Palestinians and opposition to Israel's existence.
The leader, in 25-unthreaded tweets, compared Israel to a "cancerous tumor" and the coronavirus, as he called for the nation to be "uprooted and destroyed." The ayatollah, who wields complete control over the regime, made similar comments Friday in an in-person speech, according to the Times of Israel
"Some argue that the Zionist regime is a reality that the region must come to terms with," the Khamenei said in one tweet. "Today the #Covid_19 is a reality; should it be accepted or fought?! The long-final ing virus of Zionism will be uprooted thanks to the determination and faith of the youth. #Covid1948."
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The "#Covid1948" hashtag is a reference to the year the Jewish state was established in the wake of the Holocaust and World War II.
The remarks, which were made on the ayatollah's English-language Twitter account – Twitter has a policy that it does not block world leaders or remove their "controversial tweets" – came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Khameini of making threats "reminiscent of the Nazi 'final solution' plan for the destruction of the Jewish people" on Wednesday.
"He must know that any regime that threatens Israel with extermination will find itself in similar danger," Netanyahu continued.
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Khamenei also warned in his Friday tweets against trusting Western governments or international organizations, which have at least to some extent served to stem the Iranian regime's nuclear ambitions and stated mission to destroy Israel.
"It’s absolutely essential to avoid trusting western govts & international communities dependent on them," Khamenei said. "They are opposed to any effective entity of an Islamic nature. They have no regard for human rights. They are the cause of the worst harm and crimes against Islamic nation."
Iran, of course, is a habitual human rights violator. The United Nations, an organization with a reputation for going soft on Iran and singling out Israel, issued a report earlier this year chronicling Iran's crackdowns against pro-democracy protesters.
"Individuals who have called for the alleviation of economic tough ships, and those who peacefully exercise their civil and political rights in defense of human rights have faced a harsh response," Javaid Rehman, the U.N. rapporteur behind the report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, said in the report.
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He continued: "In particular, I remain deeply concerned at the arrest and imprisonment of human rights defenders and lawyers. I received reports that imprisoned human rights defender, Arash Sadeghi, has been denied treatment for bone cancer and a serious arm infection.”
In a tweet toward the end of his screed, the supreme leader of the nation that is the largest state-sponsor of terrorism worldwide praised three U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations — Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
"#Hamas & #IslamicJihad in Palestine, #Hezbollah in Lebanon have been a proof for everyone," he said. "The world will not forget the day Zionist army, pounded by Hezbollah, retreated from Lebanon & begged for a truce after heavy casualties. This is what full hands & a position of power means."
Fox News' Vandana Rambaran and Benjamin Weinthal contributed to this report.