Iran Stages anti-Israel Rallies to Mark Annual 'Jerusalem Day'

Millions expected at nationwide demonstrations for the 'liberation' of Palestinians 'from the Zionist regime'; 'Jerusalem Day' first declared by former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

Iran on Friday staged anti-Israeli rallies nationwide, state media reported.

According to state television, millions of people were expected to attend the state-run rallies throughout the country and voice their support for Palestinians and the "liberation of their lands from the Zionist regime's - Israel's - occupation."

Iran Jerusalem Day rally - Reuters - August 26 2011

Crowds were to converge on Tehran University where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to give a speech.

The late supreme leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, grand ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, declared the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan to be Qods, or Jerusalem, Day and called for annual mass rallies against Israel and in support of the Palestinians.

Ahmadinejad on Wednesday called for the eradication of Israel, saying that Iran would "never ever withdraw from this standpoint and policy."

The president provoked international condemnation in 2005 when he said that Israel should be eliminated from the map of the Middle East and transferred to Europe or North America.

The international isolation of the Islamic republic escalated after Ahmadinejad held a Holocaust conference in 2006 in which he questioned whether the killing of 6 million Jews in Europe during World War II actually happened.