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Iranian Leadership: Palestine is THE Issue

35 years after the world's biggest funeral

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Hello and welcome to Press TV Spotlight. I'm Marcia Hashemi. Thanks so much for being with us. The leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has said that due to Al-Aqsa flood operation, the issue of Palestine is the primary issue in the world today. He was speaking at a gathering commemorating the 35th anniversary of the passing away of the founder of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini. Ayatollah Khamenei also reflected on Imam Khomeini's steadfast support for Palestine and how his insight not only helped us understand the situation of Palestine, but Iran, the region, and the world.

I'd like to welcome out of London Shabir Razvi, political analyst. Thank you so much, Shabir, for being with us. Let's start off with the world today and the world years ago, and especially what has changed. One, looking at the place of Iran, and two, looking at the Palestinian issue.

Shabir Razvi: Thank you very much for the kind invitation. Of course, the world is a different place, as you quite rightly pointed out. And those of us who are of a certain age have lived through this historic moment from the time of the inception of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and through all the contours that it has taken in the last years, particularly the sad demise of the founder and the leader of the Islamic Revolution. Imam Khomeini, may the Almighty be pleased with him and have mercy on him, was really an individual that resonated very clearly with not only the Muslims globally, but with all the oppressed people of the world.

Because in reality, Imam Khomeini was a religious scholar and his sort of thinking really sort of came out from the Holy Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his family. So the reality is that whatever issues that Imam Khomeini wanted to deal with were in light of what Islam has taught humanity. The two key principles from the Quranic point of view are—I'll use the Arabic word and translate it for your esteemed audience—is to be really fighting against the mustakbireen (arrogant powers) and to be with the oppressed people, the mustazafeen.

So this is the sort of divine message that Imam Khomeini was able to present to the world. Hence the reason why as soon as the Islamic revolution came on the horizon, it discontinued the relationship with the apartheid regime in South Africa, and gave the Zionist embassy in Tehran to the Palestinians, and of course took the cause of the Palestinians to the forefront—the pivot, the foundation of really supporting the oppressed people in that manner.

I was lucky and very privileged to have participated in the funeral of Imam Khomeini years ago. And at that time, it was June, very hot weather, and people walked from many cities close by to Tehran to participate. It was the largest funeral that was ever held (10 million people, one-sixth of Iran’s population.) And I don't think any other funeral has come close to it in the last years or prior to it.

So that really showed the love that the Iranian nation had for the founder of the Islamic Revolution. Years later, what we see is that Iran is no longer a weak country. Iran has developed in all walks of life, from military activities to technology, science, manpower building. Iran has been successful in so many fields, considering that it has been under sanctions for the last years, sanctions which have created huge problems for the ordinary people. But nonetheless, it is educating the people. It has sort of become a power in West Asia without any doubt at all. Even the foes of the Islamic revolution really have to acknowledge the fact that Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, is not a nation that can be walked over.

And it's alliances which have built in the last years. One recalls that Iran had to experience the eight year imposed war by Saddam in the beginning of the revolution. Obviously, the European nations, America and its allies, wanted to destroy the infant Islamic revolution at that time, but they did not succeed.

Kevin Barrett, expert in West Asian affairs out of Morocco. Kevin, thanks for being with us. Your thoughts on the leader of the revolution’s comments that due to the Al-Aqsa Storm operation, that Palestine has become the primary issue in the world. How important is this?

He's absolutely right.He nailed it. He was correct in observing that prior to October 7th, the Zionists had been making serious inroads among some of the more corrupt leadership entities in the region and had managed to sideline the Palestinian issue from the consciousness of much of the world. Events were moving in a direction that without any major change could have led to a growing tacit acceptance of this genocide of Palestine that's been ongoing since 1948.

And October 7th changed everything. It showed that just like Hezbollah was able to defeat the Israeli military in 2006, that the combined Palestinian resistance led by Hamas was able to inflict a tremendous strategic defeat on the Israeli military. On October 7 they won straight-up battles with some of Israel's best military units. Scott Ritter wrote a very good article about this, terming October 7 the greatest military victory of the century.

And that both showed that the Zionists are a paper tiger militarily, and also, it triggered this insane overreaction. I'm not sure that even the Palestinian resistance, which knows how cruel and vicious and sadistic and evil the Zionists are, could have imagined that they would overreact to this extent. But they have, and they have revealed themselves as the butchers of the world, the enemies of all mankind.

And that's been increasingly obvious to the point that the Western media's attempt to cover up this reality has completely failed. And now everybody all over the world who's paying attention has seen that the mask has come off and the evil serial killer underneath it has been revealed to the world. That's the true identity of the Zionist entity, and it always will be.

This kind of traumatic event leaves a permanent mark on people and on cultures, and the culture of this region will no longer accept the existence of this genocidal Zionist entity based on what's happened since the smashing resistance victory on October 7th. So they basically sealed their death warrant with that response, and the lLeader is totally right that this has changed history, and it's leading inexorably to the end of the genocidal Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine.

Well, Shabir, Kevin made some interesting points. Let's start off with what he said about perhaps even Hamas didn't know just how this entity would react, how vicious—of course, they had experienced the viciousness of the regime for a long time—but that it would be so persistent and consistent with this genocide that eight months later that we're still witnessing the killing of civilians in Gaza. Why do you think that the regime made this decision at this time to go all the way and ignore everyone? Of course, international law they always had violated, but to kill and live streaming and not to care. At the end of the day, as Kevin said, haven't they basically signed their own death warrant here?

Well, indeed they have. And it's very clear that post 7th of October, the viciousness, the brutality, the barbarism of the genocide that is being played out in front of us, as all commentators have said that this is the first time in human history that we are able to see what's happening now, in real time, rather than read about it. So really, the death warrant, I think, has been sort of written quite clearly.

However, the Zionist entity always wanted to get rid of the Palestinians. The first Nakba, when Palestinians were made refugees. Most of the people living in Gaza are the children and grandchildren of those refugees. So this has always been the strategy. And we've seen over the last years, since the Zionist entity has existed, it has been vicious, as I said. The only thing is it is being documented in high definition, multicolor for everyone to see. And that's the reason they're not able to hide it like they were able to do it in past.

What I think is important to note here is that one talks about “the day after” concerning Gaza. One should really be talking about the day after (Zionism)—what happens to the Zionist entity when this war comes to an end. There would have to be a day of reckoning. And I think it's becoming very clear to any unbiased observer that the lifespan, the shelf life of the Zionist entity is really coming to an end. It's become a stale product, so to speak. Not only is it toxic, but it is stale as well. Therefore, no one really wants to experience anything that is stale. Therefore, what will happen thereafter is that I believe what really requires is…Netanyahu talks about de-radicalization, de-Hamas, in Gaza. I think what we should be talking about is de-radicalization of the Zionist entity, dismantling of the Zionist state, and one person, one vote for the Palestinian people who are living between the river and the sea.

Well, Kevin, Ayatollah Khamenei has reiterated how Palestine has been a priority for the Islamic Republic since the revolution and continues to be. How significant is it that what Iran was trying to make the world aware of back in 1979 has now happened, that the existence of the Zionist entity was a danger for Palestinians, for the region, and actually for the world?

Well, yes, Iran has taken the realistic view of Zionism from the very beginning. And that's mainly because of the courage of the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its genuine independence. So it's able to call it the way it sees it and to stand up for what it sees as right, whereas many of the other regional countries are led by people who are vulnerable, one way or another, to the power of Zionism and the U.S. empire, which Zionism largely controls.

The realistic view of Zionism has always been that this is a maniacal, messianic, millenarian, heretical religious movement which aims to perpetually expand and ultimately fulfill the prophecies of the most extreme and heretical and even satanic branches of Jewish messianic millenarianism, the kinds of things associated with people like Shabtai Zvi and Jacob Frank. And Jewish messianic millenarianism is very clear that what they are attempting is that they think that their messiah—or themselves, if they choose to play the role of their own messiah—is going to basically subjugate the whole world, take over the world, kill and enslave the goyim, that is, the non-Jewish tribes.

Obviously, not all Jewish people think that way. In fact, only a very small minority consciously dedicate themselves to this goal. But that minority is in power now. The Netanyahu family is part of that group, by the way. Netanyahu's father, Benzion, wrote a whole book about this (insinuating that) the Zionists need to become their own satanic messiah and take over the world through taking over the Holy Land.

So that's the project. And they're going to keep expanding. They're not going to stop with historic Palestine. They're trying to occupy their neighbors. They're ultimately going for greater Israel, everything between the Nile and the Euphrates and beyond. And they're trying to subjugate the whole world through that greater Israel.

And this realistic view of what we're dealing with here. It isn't just some European national movement that wants a very modest little state for million Jews in the region. No, this is a grotesquely expansionist cancer, not only on the region, but on the world. And everybody in the region really knows this, but only the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its allies have had the independence and courage to be able to stand up and say it openly.

Shabir, according to Ayatollah Khamenei, the al-Aqsa operation carried out by Hamas happened right on time and destroyed the enemy's plans for the region. Your thoughts about that?

Well, prior to that, there was normalization taking place. It has already occurred with certain entities in West Asia. It was in the cards that the regime in Riyadh was on its way to normalize its relationship with the Zionist entity. Plus other major players or major countries like Pakistan were also being pushed to do so in due course. So that plan has really come unstuck at the moment. No one is really going to think about any kind of normalization while this genocidal war continues in Palestine. And whoever is touting for that particular approach is not going to have any space. But let's wait and see how certain regimes under the control of the U.S. and the Zionist entity post ceasefire, how will they react?

I think the streets in the Arab nations will not allow their leaders to go on the path of normalization. The first entity which could really experience a change of regime is the regime in Amman. The King of Jordan is in a precarious situation in that it has had a normalized relationship with the Zionist entity and also Egypt for many years. More than half of the Jordanians are of Palestinian background. So that particular regime could change at any time if the Zionist entity continues in the manner that it is.

So there are issues associated with most of the Arab nations who want to normalize relationships with Israel. Their publics will not accept it quietly, and it could be a precarious situation for the leadership in those countries. So I think Israel, the Zionist entity, has lost a lot of friends, which it was expecting to have in the past. The nature of Al-Aqsa flood, which has really focused the minds of the global population from South Africa to Southeast Asia to South America, where South American nations have cut off diplomatic relationships with the Zionist entity, will continue and progress even more rapidly.

Kevin, since October 7 the world has been awakened from the slumber of believing that the Zionist regime was a democratic and fair entity, which, of course, were the lies that they had propagated to for decades. Now, we've seen recently the leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, sent a letter to the university students in the United States and elsewhere telling them “we're on the same side. You're part of the resistance. You're standing up against oppression.” How important is this transition that we're seeing and this awakening, especially of the young people?

I think it's quite amazing. When I first saw the poll numbers back after October 7th showing that in the immediate wake of October 7th, when the propaganda was at its peak and these ridiculous lies about broiled babies and beheaded babies and this sort of nonsense were being bandied about by the president of the United States and the entire Western mainstream media—even at that pointthe polls showed that the majority of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 basically sided with the Palestinian resistance and wanted to put the genocidal entity of Israel out of business.

I was shocked by that poll. I'd known that there was a lot of sympathy for Palestine among younger people, but I hadn't realized that they were that wide awake.

And since then, public opinion has moved further and further in a pro-Palestine direction, especially among young people, but also among all different age and demographic groups in the West, and of course all over the world, starting with the Muslim world and the global South. And all of these people can see the grotesque injustice of what's going on in occupied Palestine, this over-the-top genocide with just really brutal and deliberate massacring of innocent people, of the aid workers who are trying to feed them, of the medical people who are trying to take care of them, this inflicting unspeakable tortures on little children and deliberately targeting women, killing the population in such a way that it's clear that there's no selectivity whatsoever.

They're not going after military targets. They're just exterminating the population in the most horrific way imaginable. And the whole world can see that now. And those young people are in particular waking up.

I think the leader of Iran was very wise in choosing this moment to send another letter to the young people of the West in solidarity with the demonstrations on campuses, because there is a common thread there. I'm sure that the Iranian religious scholars and the 18-year-olds on Western university campuses definitely have very different worldviews. These people are young, and they've grown up in a culture that's quite advanced in a lot of ways in terms of decadence and decay. But these young people are human and they have hearts and they have curious, inquiring minds. And so the Supreme Leader of Iran is reaching out to their better natures and their moral sense, their innate moral sense, and saying, look, this is what we're trying to do here in the leadership in Iran. We're trying to pursue a policy that puts morality first and put sympathy with suffering underdogs and oppressed people first. And that's a message that I think those students can relate to.

And Shabir, when we look at what happened on April 13th, Operation True Promise, the retaliatory attack by Iran on the Israeli regime, how indicative is this of how Iran has advanced over the years and over the decades and still definitely is a staunch defender of the Palestinian cause?

That particular attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran really put it on the map that it was not going to listen or really take any nonsense from the Zionist entity after the Zionist entity had attacked and killed Iranian military personnel and others who were at the Iranian embassy in Damascus, a sovereign property in a sovereign country.

So that really put a marker to show that from here onwards, Iran is going to take the war to the Zionist territories directly. Because in the past, over the last years, the Zionist entity had killed many individuals, scientists, the martyr General Soleimani, and other important individuals. But Iran did not get involved directly.

So April 13 really clearly showed that Iran is in a situation where it will not tolerate any kind of nonsense from the Zionist entity. That comes back to our original question: 35 years later, where is Iran? Iran is really on the world map as a military power. Certainly in West Asia, it is the number one military power without any doubt. No one in the region has the audacity to challenge Iran militarily.

Okay. I'm so sorry to interrupt you, Shabir, but we're really out of time. Thank you both. Kevin Barrett, expert in West Asian affairs, and Shabir Rezvi, political analyst. Thank you both for being with us. And thank you, viewers, for staying with us on another Spotlight. I'm Marzia Hashimi. See you next time.

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