In case Obama forgot.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators chanting, “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, I sacrifice my life for Iran,” swarmed the streets of the capital, turning a day in support of the Palestinian cause into a major opposition rally.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed reelection three months ago triggered Iran’s worst political domestic crisis in decades, delivered a blistering condemnation of Israel on the occasion of annual Quds Day.
In a fiery speech, he questioning the Holocaust and blamed “Zionists” for ongoing wars in the Middle East.
“If the Holocaust you claim is correct, why do you reject any research about it?” he said in a speech before Friday prayers. “The Zionists are behind the ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan.”
State-controlled Iranian television showed thousands of demonstrators wearing traditional Arab scarves, holding posters of Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and chanting “Death to Israel,” a traditional rallying cry on this holiday, which takes place on the last Friday of every Islamic calendar month of Ramadan.
But witnesses reported that demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans had taken complete control of Tehran’s expansive Seventh of Tir Square. Video posted to YouTube showed thousands of others holding up green ribbons and rallying peacefully in Tehran, Esfahan and Shiraz. Late in the morning came reports of tear gas being fired into crowds in the capital, but they could not be confirmed.
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who ran and lost against Ahmadinejad in an election marred by fraud allegations, had urged supporters to join the rally to show the continued strength of the opposition despite a violent three-month crackdown since the vote.
The Revolutionary Guard had ominously warned a day earlier that anyone wearing the green colors of the opposition or chanting anything other than slogans against Israel would be attacked harshly. Plainclothes and uniformed security officials lined the streets as loudspeakers broadcast officially sanctioned slogans.
But witnesses said thousands if not tens of thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets anyway, and quickly posted videotape of their marches on the Internet. Reformist news websites said a group of hard-line plainclothes militiamen tried to attack former President Mohammad Khatami as he entered the march, only to be thwarted by his bodyguards, other demonstrators and security forces.
Yeah, it must be those eeeeeevil Zionists who are planting silly ideas of freedom. Obama will get right back with the Iranian protesters….as soon as he’s finished helping Manuel Zelaya get back into Honduras.