EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: On June 8, the Islamic Republic of Iran held its annual “Quds Day” to express the nation’s support for the Palestinian struggle. Iran invests a great deal of effort into commemorating this event and mobilizes its citizens to flood the streets in solidarity. Is the hostility towards Israel on display on Quds Day a reflection of pure ideology, or is it a product of Tehran’s desire to elevate its status as regional hegemon and leader of the Muslim world?
Quds Day (Ruz-e Jehani-ye Quds), which is marked in Iran annually on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, represents that country’s effort to show solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. The event broadcasts the Iranian government’s uncompromising line against the existence of Israel. As in previous years, many Iranian citizens both within the country and abroad took part in demonstrations, which included hate speeches by senior Iranian officials who called for the destruction of Israel and the burning of the flags of the US, Israel, and even Saudi Arabia.
The decision to mark Quds Day, adopted by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini not long after the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, was aimed at highlighting the approach of the revolutionary regime towards the Palestinian struggle. That approach was to challenge the ruling hegemony of the US and the Western countries (the “arrogant powers”) and to call for unification of the Muslim world against their influence.