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Oct 14, 2023

Iran's Sunni Leader Rejects Regime’s Idea Of Israel's Destruction

Author: Iran International Newsroom

Iran's top Sunni leader Mowlavi Abdolhamid has contradicted the clerical regime on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that neither side should be destroyed.

Abdolhamid distanced himself from the regime’s goal of Israel's annihilation during his Friday prayer sermon, decried the attacks on civilians “that has shocked the world,” without directly mentioning the Tehran-backed Islamist group Hamas.

Hamas unleashed a bloody invasion into Israel on October 7, inflicting the biggest loss of life in one day since the Holocaust. Israel has been pounding Gaza in retaliation for the Hamas rampage in Israel this week that has killed over 1,300 people, the deadliest attack on civilians in the Israeli history.

More than 1,800 Palestinians have been killed.

In an apparent condemnation of Hamas attack, he said, "If Muslims disregard international laws, assault women, and kills children, we do not blindly support it. "He noted that extremism by anyone is not tolerable. He emphasized that Israel should also refrain from violating international laws.

The outspoken cleric said, "Anyone with a shred of humanity is deeply affected when seeing these heart-wrenching scenes of human slaughter."

He added, "The reality is that neither Muslims can destroy Israel, nor Israel can eliminate Palestinians. It's not achievable. When something is not achievable, why use force?"

A man carries bags as he walks past a mural symbolising freedom and peace between Israel and Palestinians, in Rondebosch, Cape Town, South Africa, October 11, 2023.

Abdolhamid emphasized the importance of maintaining a "fair stance" and suggested that governments and nations worldwide should strive to resolve differences rather than aligning themselves in this conflict.

He said Israelis and Palestinians are two "nations" living alongside each other and also endorsed the idea of establishing two states.

The two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict envisions an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River.

The boundary between the two states is still subject to dispute and negotiation, with Palestinian and Arab leadership demanding full Israeli withdrawal from territories it occupied in 1967, which is rejected by Israel. 

Abdolhamid’s practical views for a solution to the decades long conflict are in stark contrast to that of the Islamic Republic, which only sees the destruction of Israel as the solution.

In 2015, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Israel must be destroyed in 25 years and the government even set up a countdown clock in Tehran and a few other cities.

Many Iranians mock the anti-Israel rhetoric and the ticking clock, but the regime is adamant in pursuing the goal.

Regime authorities use every opportunity to stress the necessity of "Israel's destruction," a slogan that has justified Iran’s huge financial and military support to militant groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, while Iranian increasingly safe poverty and a bleak economic future.

While the Islamic Republic is cheering about the war in Israel, Iranians’ reactions to the regime’s propaganda indicate a complex societal schism.

In Iran, once Khamenei dictates the regime's policy themes concerning global developments, other officials, clerics, and his representatives across the country begin to disseminate them.

Earlier in the year, Abdolhamid called for peace between Muslims and Jewish people, stating that "No one should think of the destruction of others, and everyone should think about peace." His remarks came against the backdrop of Iran’s repeated warnings against normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries.

While Saudi Arabia and Israel had never been closer to a deal to establish official relations, US officials and a lot of pundits are of the opinion that the Hamas attack was meant to disrupt the normalization process.

After Abdolhamid’s sermons on Friday, people in several cities of the predominantly Sunni province of Sistan-Baluchestan took to streets and held anti-regime rallies.

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