Iran Isn't Calling for Elimination of Jews, Supreme Leader Khamenei Says

'Calling for the elimination of the state of Israel means that the people of Palestine - be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish - should choose their own government,' leader Khamenei says

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to thousands of students as they chant slogan during their meeting in Tehran, Iran, November 3, 2019.
AP

Iran is not calling for the elimination of Jewish people, but it thinks people of all religions should decide Israel's future, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday in a speech posted on his official website.

"Calling for the elimination of the state of Israel does not mean the elimination of the Jewish people ... it means that the people of Palestine - be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish - should choose their own government," Khamenei told an Islamic conference in Tehran.

Since its Islamic Revolution in 1979 Iran has refused to recognize Israel and has backed militant Palestinian groups.

Khamenei's comments came after a week of Israel-Gaza flare-up that saw some 450 rockets launched at Israel and 32 fatalities in the coastal enclave following the targeted assassination of top Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata, who was killed with his wife Asma early morning Tuesday.

On Thursday morning Islamic Jihad and Israel reached a cease-fire, however, hours later the fragile calm was broken by rockets fired from Gaza toward Israeli communities, to which the Israel army responded with striking the group's positions overnight Thursday.

In 2018, Israel passed the controversial nation-state law that officially defines Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people and asserts that "the realization of the right to national self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people."

The law sparked outrage from Israel's Arab community and provoked concern from the international community.