Iran holds annual anti-Israel rallies, displays missiles

Iranians held rallies across the country on Friday to mark the International Quds Day, an annual display of solidarity with Palestinians and condemnation of Israeli atrocities against a defenseless people.

Demonstrators burned Israeli and American flags while others posed for selfies in front of yellow-painted missiles - including the Zolfaghar, the type Iran fired this week at alleged Islamic State targets in Syria.

Opposition to Israel is a touchstone of belief for Shi'ite-led Iran, which backs Palestinian and Lebanese Islamic militant groups opposed to peace with the Jewish state, which Tehran refuses to recognize.

At a 2016 Al-Quds Day event in Tehran, General Hossein Salami, deputy chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, boasted that "in Lebanon alone over 100,000 missiles are ready at all times to fly.at the heart of the Zionist regime". Iran says it's an occasion to express support for the Palestinians and emphasize the importance of Jerusalem for Muslims.

"The missiles shot at Daesh were mid-range - you can imagine the power of our long-range missile", Khatami said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Other carried a coffin emblazoned with a picture of US President Donald Trump and the slogan: "Death to America, death to the House of Saud".

Larijani called Israel the "mother of terrorism" and said in the "20th century, there was no event more ominous than the birth of the Zionist regime".

Iran's ballistic missile programme has been the subject of persistent concern in Washington and the target of repeated United States sanctions.

Iran's ballistic missile program has been the subject of persistent concern in Washington and the target of repeated USA sanctions. Iran has marked the day since the start of its 1979 Islamic Revolution, when the country cut relations with Israel.

The rally also inaugurated a huge digital countdown display at Tehran Palestine Square, showing that Israel will allegedly cease to exist in 8,411 days.

"Insulting the president on Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day is an unbefitting response by the extremists to the nation's choice", tweeted Zahra Ahmadipour, vice president for cultural heritage and tourism.

Traditionally held on the last Friday of Ramadan, protests are also due to take place across the Arab and Muslim world, including Iraq, Yemen and Turkey.

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