Iran displays missiles during annual anti-Israel rallies


TEHRAN, Iran — 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 Revolutionary Guard displayed its ballistic missiles, including the type used this week in Syria.

President Hassan Rouhani and other Iranian officials, including Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, 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 the Palestinian group Hamas that runs the Gaza Strip and the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

The Revolutionary Guard showcased three surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, including the Zolfaghar — the type that Iran used this week to target the Islamic State group in Syria. The force said it fired six such missiles on Sunday at ISIS targets in the city of Deir el-Zour, more than 600 kilometers away.

The Revolutionary 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.

Another missile on display at the Tehran rally was the Ghadr, with a range of 2,000 kilometers that can reach both Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

The rally also inaugurated a huge digital countdown display at Tehran Palestine Square, showing that Israel will allegedly cease to exist in 8,411 days.

In 2015, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted that after 25 years — by 2040 — Israel will no longer exist.

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