© AP Photo / Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
On 20 May Iran's Supreme Leader said his country would "support and assist any nation or any group anywhere" in its struggles against Israel, after the PA announced withdrawal from agreements with Tel Aviv over an announcement by the newly formed Israeli government to begin extending sovereignity over one-third of the West Bank as soon as July.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei announced on Friday that the struggle to "liberate Palestine" was an obligation and an Islamic goal, adding "everyone must assist the Palestinian nation in this holy struggle".

"The struggle to liberate Palestine is Jihad in the way of God, and it is an obligation and an Islamic goal. Victory in this such a struggle has been guaranteed," said Khamenei.

Speaking as millions took part in worldwide events celebrating International Quds Day, Ayatollah Khamenei lashed out at the "Zionist regime", which he branded a "deadly, cancerous growth and a pure detriment loss to this region".

​The Ayatollah Khamenei took the opportunity to slam "abortive vain and futile" efforts by "certain Arab governments in the region, which act as the minions" of Washington, as they express a desire to normalize relations with Israel through establishing economic ties.

The Supreme leader was speaking on the occasion of International Quds Day - an annual event held on the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which was launched by Iran in 1979 to show its solidarity with Palestinians and to counter what Tehran sees as Israeli aggression.

israel iran
© AP Photo / Vahid Salemi
Iranian protesters burn a representation of the U.S. and Israeli flags in their annual anti-Israeli Al-Quds, Jerusalem, Day rally in Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 8, 2018
Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem, at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Traditionally, people in Iran and across the world hold rallies on the occasion, which this year had to be cancelled over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

'Zionist Regime Incompatible with Peace'

Earlier, Iran's Supreme Leader announced his country would "support and assist any nation or any group anywhere" in its struggles against Israel, after the Palestinian Authority announced it was withdrawing from all agreements with Israel over its proposed "annexation" of the West Bank.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei wrote in a Wednesday series of twitter posts that the "Zionist regime" had shown it "understands no logic except force".

Khamenei's comments followed an announcement by the Palestinian Authority on 19 May that it would cease to abide by any of its agreements with either Israel or the United States, in response to an announcement by the newly formed Israeli government to start extending its sovereignty over one-third of the West Bank as soon as July.

Head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has repeatedly warned Israel that he would scrap any bilateral agreements with the Jewish state if Tel Aviv attempted to further extend its sovereignty over parts of the West Bank - a possibility hinted at by the new unity government.

Earlier, Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in as Israel's prime minister, heading a unity government where he will rotate the leadership with his former rival, Benny Gantz.

© REUTERS / Knesset Spokespersons' Office
Benny Gantz, centrist Blue and White leader, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's partner in his new unity government, speaks during a swearing in ceremony of the new government, at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem May 17, 2020.
Speaking in the Knesset on 17 May ahead of being sworn in, Netanyahu said he would extend Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the occupied West Bank, calling it "another glorious chapter in the history of Zionism".

Iran's Zarif Calls Israel 'Chronic Threat to Peace', Recalls Status as Region's Only Nuclear Power

© CC BY-SA 3.0 / טל ענבר / Shavit 3rd stage
Tel Aviv has repeatedly warned that it would "never allow" Tehran to obtain nuclear weapons. Iranian officials say they have no intention of doing so.

Israel is the "biggest violator of human rights, the only holder of nuclear weapons in the region, and the most serious chronic threat to international peace and security," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif alleged in a Tweet on Quds Day, the annual Iran-sponsored international event meant to signal Muslim solidarity with Palestinians.

"Jerusalem Day is the day to revive Palestinian rights and for the occupation and settlers to disappear," Zarif added, remarking that "the conspiracy of the racist deal of the century has shown that Washington is a hopeless partner of the aggressor."

Zarif's tweet came the same day that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei made a fiery speech promising to "support and assist any nation or any group anywhere" that struggles against Israel, and claimed that the "struggle to liberate Palestine" was "an obligation and an Islamic goal."

Zarif's tweet's have been less aggressive, with the diplomat going into damage control mode on Thursday over a Quds Day poster by the Iranian government which made a reference to a "final solution" for Palestine, which some American and Israeli Jews took as a reference to Nazi Germany's "final solution" of killing millions of European Jews in the Holocaust in the 1940s.

Commenting on the poster, Zarif insisted that "final solution" would be found "at the ballot box, through a REFERENDUM," and slammed anyone claiming otherwise.

Israeli officials shot back at Tehran later in the day Friday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning Iran not to threaten Israel with destruction lest they "put themselves in a similar danger."

Newly minted Defence Minister Benny Gantz similarly dismissed Khamenei's remarks, calling them "arrogant" and "a sign of weakness."

"As someone who is very familiar with the Iranian issue, and as someone who prepared the IDF's operational capabilities, I would not suggest to anyone that they try and test us," Gantz said.

The back-and-forth claims are the latest shots in a long-running back-and-forth war of words between the two powers over which of them poses a bigger threat to the region. Iranian officials say it's Israel and its US allies, pointing to Tel Aviv's stock of nuclear weapons and regular military operations against its neighbours. Israel, whose official policy is neither to confirm or deny its possession of nuclear weapons, accuses Iran of spreading terrorism throughout the region, of threatening Tel Aviv's national security, and of pursuing nuclear weapons, a claim Tehran has repeatedly denied.