Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that Israel's existence is an "insult to all humanity."
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Addressing worshippers at Tehran University after nationwide pro-Palestinian rallies, an annual event marking Quds (Jerusalem) Day on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, Ahmadinejad said confronting Israel is an effort to "protect the dignity of all human beings."
According to state media, millions of people were expected to attend the rallies, organized by the state throughout the country, and voice their support for Palestinians and the "liberation of their lands from the Zionist regime's occupation."
Iranian state television stopped its regular schedule and focused on live coverage of the rallies.
The late supreme leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, declared the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan as Quds (Jerusalem)-Day and called for annual mass rallies against Israel and in support of the Palestinians.
Khomeini's successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, said on Wednesday that the liberation of Palestine was top on the Islamic world agenda and predicted that "the fake Zionist regime would soon fade away from geography and every inch of the occupied territories be returned to Palestinians."
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently described Israeli officials as "the most obnoxious creatures in history" and called on the United States and its Western allies not to sacrifice their interests by "becoming slaves of the Zionists."