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.


Saudi-led military committee moves heavy weapons outside Aden

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi-led military committee moves heavy weapons outside Aden

  • The internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: A military committee led by Saudi officers in Yemen has transported heavy weapons from bases in the southern port city of Aden, a committee member told Arab News on Friday. 

“We’ve moved tanks, cannons and ammunition from Aden military bases to a military outpost in Ras Abbas, on the outskirts of Aden,” said the member on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Under the Riyadh Agreement, the internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons to the Saudi-led military committee, which is tasked with collecting them at a location outside Aden before dispatching them to battlefields. 

The committee is also charged with making other security and military arrangements, including the withdrawal of forces from the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan. 

The Riyadh Agreement, signed in the Saudi capital in November, was designed to defuse tensions between both sides following bloody clashes last year in Aden, Shabwa and Abyan. 

Residents in Aden reported seeing columns of lorries carrying tanks leaving military bases and heading to the city’s outskirts.

Despite failing to meet some deadlines included in the Riyadh Agreement, many of its terms have been implemented.

These include the return of the prime minister, the partial withdrawal of forces, an exchange of prisoners and the process of disarmament.

Following the relocation of military units, Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is expected to appoint a new governor for Aden before forming a new government.

FASTFACT

Under the Riyadh Agreement, the internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons to the Saudi-led military committee.

On the battlefield, heavy fighting continued on Friday in the Nehim district just outside Houthi-held Sanaa as government forces, backed by Saudi-led warplanes, pushed forward to pave the way for the liberation of the capital. Dozens have been killed since Wednesday as both sides claimed gains on the ground.

In Marib, senior army commanders on Friday said the army would keep pressing its offensive until the Houthis are expelled from Sanaa. 

At a meeting attended by the Saudi-led coalition commander in Marib, Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamed Al-Muzaini, Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdashi said the Yemeni Army is determined to push the Houthis out of Sanaa and other areas under their control, and to work on restoring state institutions. 

The commanders discussed military plans and the recent escalation of fighting in Nehim, Jouf and Marib.

The conflict in Yemen began in late 2014 when the Houthis seized Sanaa and began expanding across the country.

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia has helped government forces advance on all fronts, pushing the Houthis to mountainous provinces in northern Yemen.