update deskMiddle East

Khamenei: Israel collapsing due to Gaza war

"The Zionist regime is gradually melting in front of the eyes of the people of the world."

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers an address on Oct. 19, 2022. Source: Channel 1 (Iran) via MEMRI.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers an address on Oct. 19, 2022. Source: Channel 1 (Iran) via MEMRI.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday claimed that Israel was falling apart due to the war against Hamas in Gaza.

“The Zionist regime is gradually melting in front of the eyes of the people of the world,” the semi-official Mehrs News Agency quoted him as saying.

The remarks were reportedly made during a nearly 55-minute speech at a ceremony in Tehran marking the 35th anniversary of the death of the previous supreme leader, Ruhollah Khomeini.

In the address, which was broadcast live on state television, Khamenei said that Israel’s response to the Hamas-led massacre on Oct. 7 put it in a “dead-end corridor,” according to the Associated Press.

Khamenei also said that the war had derailed U.S.-led efforts to increase Israel’s integration into the region, which he said was part of a plot by Jerusalem to dominate the Middle East.

Washington has been attempting to broker a normalization agreement between Jerusalem and Riyadh. In April, Saudi Arabia accused Iran of instigating the conflict in Gaza to undermine progress in reaching a deal.

Khamenei last week praised U.S. student protesters for forming “a branch of the Resistance Front.”

In a series of tweets aimed at Israel and U.S. student protest groups, Khamenei wrote that the protesters “are standing on the right side of history” and urged them “to become familiar with the Quran.”

“You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government’s ruthless pressure, which openly supports Zionists,” he wrote.

The support of their professors “in the face of your government’s police brutality & the pressures it is exerting on you, is a consequential development,” he added.

Iran’s acting foreign minister arrives in Lebanon

Iranian interim foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani arrived in Lebanon on Monday for his first official visit. His predecessor Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was killed in a helicopter crash last month, along with Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.

Kani met with his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah BouHabib, praising the “close relations” between the two countries and claiming that “resistance is the basis for stability in the region.”

“We agreed that all countries in the region, especially the Islamic countries, should adopt a joint movement in order to counter Israeli aggression and protect the Palestinian people, especially in Rafah,” he said.

Tehran’s Lebanese terror proxy Hezbollah has been engaging in near-daily attacks against targets in northern Israel since joining the war in support of Hamas on Oct. 8, causing multiple casualties and widespread damage. Tens of thousands of Israelis remain internally displaced due to the ongoing attacks.

Israeli forces have struck hundreds of Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in response, including the terror group’s senior leadership.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported that Kani will also visit Syria “to meet with the two countries’ officials as well as the officials of the resistance front to discuss ways to counter [Israel].”

In February, the Israel Defense Forces said that it had attacked more than 50 targets belonging to Hezbollah and other Iran-backed terrorist groups in Syria since Oct. 7.

At least 16 members of a pro-Iran militia were killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike on a copper plant in northern Syria early on Monday morning, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.

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