Rallies in Iran expose rifts

September 18, 2009 08:42 pm | Updated December 17, 2016 04:16 am IST - DUBAI

Massive rallies in support of the Palestinians were held across Iran on Friday, but the country’s social divide which the disputed presidential elections in June had exposed did emerge as the sub-text of the demonstrations.

Iran’s Press TV reported that top Palestinian leaders -- Ramezan Abdullah, secretary-general of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, were present at the rallies, which were held in Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Mashhad.

The founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had in August 1979 called for observing the last Friday of the month of Ramadan as Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, when rallies supporting Palestinians were to be held, Press TV said.

However, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that Mir-Hosain Mousavi, chief opponent of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the June elections, could not participate in the rally. He was prevented from participating in the main pro-Palestinian march because an angry crowd attacked his car.

An opposition website also claimed that scuffles broke out between rival crowds, which resulted in the former President and opposition supporter, Mohammad Khatami, being pushed. Mr. Khatami’s turban apparently fell off during the jostling which lasted for a brief while.

Meanwhile, speaking at Tehran University, Mr. Ahmadinejad denounced Israel. He said that the Holocaust was a “false pretext” used for the creation of Israel.

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