The opposition took the opportunity provided by Qod’s day in Iran, when people are encouraged to demonstrate support for the Palestinians, to do some demonstrating of their own.
The leading beaten presidential candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi joined tens of thousands of people chanting his name. Another failed candidate Mehdi Karoubi added his support to the crowd, but both were forced to flee angry counter-demonstrators, as was former president Mohammed Khatami who was reportedly manhandled and had his clothes ripped.
There were also clashes with police and at least 10 arrests were made. The crowds in Tehran saw similar marches take place in Tabriz and Ispahan, which were similarly dealt with by the authorities.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chose the day to renew his frontal attack on Israel and the underpinning of the nation. He called the Holocaust a “lie”, that had been used to provide a “pretext for the creation of a Zionist state”, based on an “unprovable and mythical claim.”
Speaking at Tehran University, he added
“confronting the Zionist regime is a national and religious duty.”
In the past, such hardline outspokenness has helped isolate Iran internationally.