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The Zionist Entity and Iran

1979-1999

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews [killing the Jews], when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, [evidently a certain kind of tree] would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

In 1951, Premier Mohammed Mossadeq, a fierce nationalist, pressured the Iranian parliament to nationalize the British-owned oil industry. Mossadeq was opposed by the Shah and was removed, but he quickly returned to power. The Shah fled Iran, but returned when the CIA staged a coup against Mossadeq in August 1953. Mossadeq was then arrested by pro-Shah army forces. In 1961, Iran initiated a series of economic, social, and administrative reforms that became known as the Shah's White Revolution. It was during this period that the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini developed a following as an anti-government leader and was sent into foreign exile in 1964, first to Turkey and subsequently to Iraq.

In 1978, domestic turmoil swept the country as a result of religious and political opposition to the Shah's rule and programs, especially SAVAK, the hated internal security and intelligence service. In January 1979, the Shah left Iran. He would die abroad several years after. On February 1, 1979, exiled religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from France to direct a revolution resulting in a new, theocratic republic guided by Islamic principles.

Prior to the Revolution, Iran and Israel had been de facto allies in the Middle East. One of the very first acts of the provisional government was to denounce that relationship and to turn over the former Israeli mission in Tehran to the Palestine Liberation Organization. All trade with Israel was banned, especially the sale of oil. Iranian leaders contended that Israel's existence was illegitimate, because it came about as a result of the destruction of Palestine. Therefore, Iran advocated eradicating Israel and reconstituting Palestine. Those Arabs who advocated compromise with Israel, such as Anwar as Sadat of Egypt, were excoriated as traitors. In general, Iran's relations with the Arab states were often based on perceptions of each state's relations with Israel and the West, primarily the United States.

In 1979, Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadan as al-Quds Day. This became an annual event in which Iranians protest against Israel and for the liberation of Jerusalem (al-Quds). Iran's leadership continued to encourage anti-Israeli activity and Ayatollah Khomenei's successor, Supreme Leader Khamenei even referred to Israel as a "cancerous tumor".

While Jews were a recognized religious minority, allegations of official discrimination were frequent (as has been the case with Iran's other recognized religious minorities, and its ethnic minorities, even those who are Shia Muslims). The Government's anti-Israel policies, along with a perception among radical Muslims that all Jewish citizens support Zionism and the State of Israel, created a hostile atmosphere for the small community. Subsequent anti-American and anti-Israeli demonstrations included the denunciation of "Jews," as opposed to the past practices of denouncing only "Israel" and "Zionism," adding to the threatening atmosphere for the community.

Under its clerical regime, Iran also became the world's most aggressive state sponsor of terrorism. In particular, Iran increased its support for groups that seek the destruction of Israel. These include the Lebanese Hezbollah and such Palestinian groups as Hamas, the Palestine Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. Iran openly supplied these groups with funding, safe haven, training, and weapons. It also encouraged Hezbollah and the Palestinian groups to coordinate their planning and increase their terrorist activities. Iran also provided support to terrorist groups in the Persian Gulf, Africa, Turkey, and Central Asia. In contrast to its increasing support for anti-Israel groups, Iran's support for other terrorist groups eventually entered into a period of decline. However, Iran continually denounced acts of terror around the globe, including those in Israel, preferring to champion the the Palestinian cause as one of legitimate resistance against the Jewish State.




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