Khamenei says Iran wants removal of Israel state not people

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “the ‘abolition of the Israeli regime’ ... does not mean the abolition of Jewish people; we have no problem with them.” (File/AFP)
Updated 15 November 2019

Khamenei says Iran wants removal of Israel state not people

  • Khamenei said the future of the land should be decided by Palestinians of all faiths
  • The Iranian government refers to Israel as the “Zionist regime”

TEHRAN: Iran’s supreme leader said Friday that calls for the abolition of Israel which have sparked outrage in the West target the “imposed state” not the Jewish people.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the future of the land should be decided by Palestinians of all faiths, Jewish as well as Christian and Muslim.
“The ‘abolition of the Israeli regime’ ... does not mean the abolition of Jewish people; we have no problem with them,” Khamenei told a meeting of Islamic countries in Tehran, according to his official website.
It means “abolition of the imposed regime and state, that the Palestinian people, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish... choose their own government and oust thugs like (Benjamin) Netanyahu,” he added, referring to Israel’s prime minister.
The Iranian government does not recognize Israel, referring to it as the “Zionist regime,” and support for the Palestinian cause has been a constant feature of its foreign policy since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Iran openly supports Israeli foes like Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the occupied Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
“We are not anti-semitic. Jews are living in utmost safety in our country. We only support the people of Palestine and their independence,” he said.
Khamenei said that the “enemies of Islam,” including Israel and the United States, seek to sow discord between Islamic countries and called for unity in the face of the “common enemy.”
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have soared since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed crippling sanctions as part of a policy of “maximum pressure.”
Since then the arch-foes have come to the brink of military confrontation after drones were downed and tankers and Saudi oil installations mysteriously attacked.


US blasts Houthis over ‘ticking time bomb’ tanker in Red Sea

Updated 10 August 2020

US blasts Houthis over ‘ticking time bomb’ tanker in Red Sea

  • Iran-backed militias renege on agreement to allow UN inspectors aboard stricken vessel holding 1.4 million barrels of oil

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: The US blasted Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen on Sunday for reneging on a deal to allow UN teams to board a rusting oil storage vessel that threatens an environmental disaster in the Red Sea.

The FSO Safer has been moored 7 km off the coast of Yemen since 1988. It fell into Houthi hands in March 2015, when they took control of the coast around the port city of Hodeidah.

The Houthis briefly bowed to pressure last month and agreed to allow a team of UN engineers to visit the ship, before changing their minds and restating their previous demands for the revenue from the oil. As the vessel’s condition deteriorates there are fears that the 1.4 million barrels of oil it contains will start to seep out.

“The Houthis have failed to follow through on their agreement to allow a UN team on to the Safer,” the White House National Security Council said on Sunday.

“They are courting environmental and humanitarian disaster by obstructing and delaying. For the good of Yemen and the region, the Houthis must allow the UN aboard the Safer.”

A recent water leak into the tanker’s engine prompted warnings of a major disaster.

“The time has come for a resolute response for an outcome,” the Yemen Embassy in Washington said on Sunday. 

“There cannot be more delays or deliberations. UN inspectors must immediately access and assess the Safer oil tanker even without Houthi permission.”

The UK echoed its concerns. “There is another floating disaster off the Yemeni coast with potentially as massive an ecological footprint as the shockwave that engulfed Beirut,” former Middle East minister Alistair Burt said. “The politics preventing safe evacuation of the oil must stop immediately.”