Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has delivered yet another anti-US and anti-Israeli speech, implicitly also attacking Saudi Arabia, saying that “Anyone who extends a hand of friendship to America and Israel is an oppressor.”

The May 6 speech that was meant to be a guide for Iranians planning to go to Hajj pilgrimage turned out to be mainly about regional issues linked to the possible rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Khamenei obviously hoped that Riyadh would abandon plans to establish ties with Jerusalem after the Gaza war, but this was not what exactly happened due to mediation by the United States. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA Chief William Burns’s engaged in active diplomacy that took them to the region several times during the past months.

Referring to a term coined by his predecessor Ruhollah Khomeini, “Distancing from the infidels,” which strained ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia and resulted in the death and injury of tens of pilgrims due to the chaos caused by Iranian government agents in Mecca during the Haj pilgrimage in 1987, Khamenei described this year’s Haj agenda for Iranian pilgrims as “distancing from the criminal Zionist enemy and its supporters.”

This marked a return to the hostile rhetoric that was softened by Khamenei when Iran resumed its ties with Saudi Arabia in early 2023 after seven years, in a China brokered deal between the two countries.

In his speech, while targeting Saudi officials and others, Khamenei contradicted himself by calling for “unity and communication among Muslims.” This overlooks the fact that his and his predecessors’ hostile remarks about the Saudis contributed to one of the most significant divides among Muslim nations in the contemporary history of the region. At one point, Khomeini expressed in anger that even if he were to make peace with his arch enemy, the United States, normalizing ties with Saudi Arabia would remain absolutely impossible.

Khamenei has also lashed out at Saudi Arabia several times making angry comments against the plan to establish ties between Riyadh and Jerusalem.

On a religious note, Khamenei’s comments annoys Iranians who see the pilgrimage as a religious responsibility and do not want to make themselves pawns in yet another political game played by Khamenei.

Khamenei called Haj an opportunity for Iranian Muslims to communicate with other Muslims. This comes while his hostile policies and hate speech has left very few friends for Iran from among Muslim nations. At the same, once again contradicting himself, he called on Iranian pilgrims to ignore national, ethnic and religious differences among Muslims.

Meanwhile, while calling for friendship among the believers of Abrahamic religions he excluded the Jewish State by calling Israel “a blood sucker” and “a rabid dog.” A few minutes later he attributed “blood sucking” to “Western civilization” adding another dimension to his hateful speech.

He said the United States was equally responsible for what happened in Gaza because of its all-out support for Israel. He further called Israel an enemy of Muslims and said the United States was its accomplice.

Khamenei also reiterated that Iran would lend its unwavering support to the people of Palestine and will not wait for others to join. He called on Iranian and non-Iranian pilgrims to support Palestinians. He also called on the pilgrims to rebel against tyrant rulers.

Iran is sending 87,550 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year starting from May 14 for 25 days.

Source » iranintl