Iranians Hold Annual anti-Israel Rallies to Mark al-Quds Day

Revolutionary Guard displays surface-to-surface ballistic missiles while protesters chant 'death to Israel'

Iranian protesters burn Israeli and American flags in a rally marking al-Quds Day in Tehran, June 23, 2017.
Vahid Salemi/AP

Iran staged anti-Israel rallies across the country on Friday, with protesters condemning Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and chanting "Death to Israel" as the powerful Revolutionary Guard displayed its ballistic missiles, including the type used this week in Syria.

Marchers in Tehran headed from various points of the city toward the Friday prayer ceremony at Tehran University campus grounds. Protesters burned the Israeli flag and effigies of Israeli leaders.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani and other Iranian officials attended the demonstration. State media reported that similar rallies were underway in other cities and towns in Iran.

The anti-Israel rallies are an annual event marking al-Quds Day, a historic Arabic name for Jerusalem. Iran sees it as an occasion to express support for the Palestinians and emphasize the importance of Jerusalem for Muslims.
Iran doesn't recognize Israel and staunchly backs militant groups that are opposed to it, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard displayed three surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar – the type that Iran used this week to target ISIS in Syria. The Guard said it fired six such missiles on Sunday at ISIS targets in the city of Deir el-Zour, more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) away.

An Iranian girl holds a model of a missile during a rally marking al-Quds Day in Tehran, June 23, 2017.
STRINGER/AFP
Iranians burn Israeli and American flags during a rally marking al-Quds day in Tehran, June 23, 2017.
STRINGER/AFP
Iranians take part in a rally marking al-Quds Day in Tehran, June 23, 2017.
STRINGER/AFP

Another missile on display was the Ghadr, with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) that can reach both Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

Iran holds al-Quds day rallies held each year on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to end this weekend. Iran has marked the day since the start of its 1979 Islamic Revolution, when the country cut relations with Israel.

The Guard said the Iranian airstrike in Syria was in retaliation for an ISIS attack earlier in June on Iran's parliament and a shrine in Tehran that killed 18 people and wounded more than 50.