The South-East Asian contingent to the Global March to Jerusalem arrived in Iran at the end of last week.
On Saturday the caravan members were received by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Presidential Palace in Tehran.
Note the delegates’ cries of ‘free Palestine’, ‘from the river to the sea’ and ‘b’ruh, b’dam’ which is an often-used chant translating as ‘in spirit and in blood we will redeem Palestine’.
Ahmadinejad told the visitors that “the existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to freedom, justice and all independent nations” and added:
“The Europe and the US spend tens of billions of their wealth on the Zionists each year to help a criminal regime…continue its occupation [of Palestinian lands]”
He also slammed the Western states for showing no tolerance towards questioning the existence of Israel.
“Despite all liberal claims of the Western states, nobody is ever allowed to ask a question or conduct a research [sic] on how the Zionist regime was established,”
“The issue of Palestine is not an argument between one person and another or a conflict created between the followers of one prophet and another …but the dispute over Palestine is a dispute over dominating and managing the world,”
According to another report, Ahmadinejad also said that:
“..the Palestinians must rule the land. “No matter how strong the enemies are, they will be destroyed and we must prepare for the great day in which arrogance will be wiped from the face of the earth”.
“The Zionist regime is like a malignant cancerous cell, and even one or two cells are enough to infect the whole body”
Ali Akbar Velayati – who holds the title of ‘chief advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader in International Affairs’ – said at the reception that:
“Washington and Tel-Aviv have intensified psychological war against Islamic Republic by increasing their accusations; Iran has been the victim of terrorism and has always condemned all kinds of terrorism; any country which has been opposed to Zionist regime and US is accused of terrorism; Zionist regime and US officials have always declared officially that they would use terror to eliminate their opposition around the world.”
Velayati is also reported as having commented that:
“Terror scenarios in India and Georgia and claims by the Zionist regime about Iran’s role in the terrorist operations were also another phase of psychological war against Tehran.
Iranian officials have strongly dismissed the US allegations as a prefabricated scenario which is totally unfounded and described it as worn-out approaches which are based on the old hostile policies of the American-Zionist axis to sow discord among Muslims.”
“The West aims to break the chain of resistance against Zionist regime and they are not advocates of Syrian nation; Damascus is the pioneer of fight against occupying force of Zionist regime and a big supporter of Lebanese resistance movement, elimination of anti-Zionism thoughts and eliminating Bashar Assad government are the goals of the West efforts,” he added.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March with organized attacks by well-armed gangs against Syrian police forces and border guards being reported across the country.
In October, calm was eventually restored in the Arab state after President Bashar al-Assad started a reform initiative in the country, but the US and Zionist regime plots could spark some new unrests in certain parts of the country.
Velayati concluded that Global March to Beitol Moghadas [Farsi synonym for “Jerusalem”] shows the Muslim public commitment to free Palestine.”
Members of the convoy visited the Iranian parliament where they were addressed by its Speaker.
“Addressing members of the convoy in Tehran, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani noted that even if the UN imposes more sanctions on Iran, the Iranian nation will never stop supporting the Palestinian nation.”
Larijani (a potential presidential candidate) is also reported as having stated that:
“…the real reason behind the pressure from US, EU and Israel is not its nuclear programme. “One European foreign minister once told me that the real problem is our stand on Palestine. We have refused to allow the Zionist to fulfill their dream. Their nuclear issue is just a farce,” he added.”
According to other reports, Iranian athletes will be joining the convoy in order to take part in the march.
GMJ International Executive Committee and International Central Committee member Feroze Mithiborwala was somewhat coy when interviewed in Pakistan on March 13th about Iranian involvement in the Global March to Jerusalem by a journalist travelling with the convoy.
“A lot of questions are being raised about the Iranian support to your movement. What do you have to say?
We’re very clear about Iran’s support. For us, Iran is our ally, those Arab powers that are anti-American are our allies, Chavez, Putin are our allies. We would like to see the Government of India supporting the anti-Imperialist people movements in South Asia, just as the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia do, although that will be a long time coming. We collect the money from our delegates. They are not from foreign funded NGO backgrounds, they’re not from upper or middle class backgrounds, but are grass root level political activists.
Coming back to the question of Iranian support, what is the nature of help you get from them? Who is sponsoring your event?
We have been very transparent with our activists and the core leadership of the Global March India. Even the first Asian convoy to Gaza had this element of support, but we only took the support of return flight tickets as it was beyond our means. But this time, we have collected money from India. The entire movement in India is being supported by Indians.
Anybody who is working for an anti-Imperialist cause will seek support from sympathetic quarters. Our civil society friends in Iran who have the resources are supporting us. But even other anti-imperialist movements have been getting support from Iran. We’re not foreign funded activists, we’re not FCRA holders, we’re not NGOs. Our support is very clear, from where we’re getting it, be it Iran, be it Lebanon, the people of Jordan, or the people of Egypt—all we’re asking for is support in terms of return tickets. Everyone anti-American is our ally. We seek to build a powerful South Asian anti-imperialist movement.”
After the same journalist had accompanied the GMJ delegation on its visit to Iran, he appeared to have reached his own conclusions:
“Meanwhile, the region is preparing for another major clash between the pro-Palestinian activists who are coming from around the world and Israeli forces on 30 March—the Palestine Land Day. Activists in Asia, Europe and Africa have given a call for a million march to Israeli borders in Lebanon and Jordan. The Iranian government along with Hezbollah in Lebanon has openly supported the call.”