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Iran Friday Imams Shift Rhetoric From Anti-Israeli To Anti-US


Friday Imams in Iran echoed Supreme Leader’s anti-US rhetoric in their sermons in a concerted move on the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran.

On November 4, 1979, pro-Khomeini Islamist and leftist students occupied the US embassy and took hostage more than 50 US diplomats for 444 days.

In their sermons, Iran’s Friday Imams generally blamed the United States for the war in Gaza ignoring the fact that it was Hamas that launched the October 7 terror attack on Israel and the United States has reacted by expressing support for Israel.

In Qom, home of the country’s largest Shiite seminary, Friday Imam Mohammad Saeedi claimed that “Iran has struck a hard blow against the United States with its Death to America slogan.” Saeedi added: “This is not simply a slogan. It is a revolutionary strategy.”

Pointing out that the Friday prayers came one day before the anniversary of the seizure of US embassy in Tehran, Saeedi said, “The takeover of the US spy den was a manifestation of this strategy.”

A regime-sponsored event to listen to a speech by Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah in Tehran on November 3, 2023

The cleric echoed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s criticism of the United States for supporting Israel.

In Karaj, near Tehran, Friday Imam Mohammad Mehdi Hosseini said, “The Death to America slogan ensures the Islamic Republic’s authority. If it is taken away from us, we will lose our international influence.” He added: “This slogan has created a strategic link between Iran and other countries and created a large front.”

Hosseini further threatened, “If the Supreme Leader allows us, we will create a storm in the region.” He claimed that the confrontation during the past 40 years between Iran on the one hand, and Israel and the United States on the other is an outcome of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s influence, power and strategic depth.

He stated that the current war in Gaza is not about Israel and Palestinians, it is a war between what is right and what is wrong.

The Friday Imam of Isfahan, Mojtaba Miordamadi expressed hope in his sermon that “The United States will be destroyed soon.” He also included Israel in his hate speech saying, “I hope the America and criminal Israel are going to be destroyed soon, and God gives us the good news about the annihilation of the Zionist regime.”

Referring to Khamenei’s statement on Thursday that “Israel would have not been able to resist against Palestinians for even one week if it weren’t for the US military support,” Mirdamadi said, “Israel has been weakened and its death is approaching despite the arrogant world’s support.”

In Mashhad, firebrand cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda said the United States is so unclean that it is “not to be touched” and added, “The United States is the filthiest point in the world. It is hated by the whole world and no one sees any value in it.”

Alamolhoda added, “None of the Islamic governments in the region dares to normalize their ties with America anymore.” In one of his most elaborate anti-Semitic comments, he claimed that “Jewish people do not believe in God’s power.” He further stated, “It is part of Israel and the United States’ philosophy that human beings should only think of their own desires.” He added, “Zionism inspired United States imperialism and its world-devouring nature.”

Alamolhoda utterly distorted Iran’s modern history, saying, “It was the United States that sent Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, into exile in 1964.” He continued his fabricated version of history by claiming, “The United States attacked Iranian students with machine guns on November 4, 1979, and then fled Iran.” Iranian “students” on that date occupied the US Embassy in Tehran and took 54 US diplomats hostage for 444 days while calling on the US not to offer medical treatment to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was in a New York hospital with terminal cancer.

He further threatened that the United States should be held accountable for Israel’s violence in Gaza.

However, the anti-US rhetoric in Iran ahead of the anniversary of the occupation of the US Embassy was not limited to clerics. Hossein Salami, the commander of the revolutionary guards (IRGC) also spoke against the US during a meeting with clerics and Basij militia and said: “The world is more united than ever against America and its policies.”