Iran staged anti-Israel rallies across the country on Friday, with protesters condemning Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and chanting "Death to Israel" as the powerful Revolutionary Guard displayed its ballistic missiles, including the type used this week in Syria. Marchers in Tehran headed from various points of the city toward the Friday prayer ceremony at Tehran University campus grounds. Protesters burned the Israeli and the American flag, as well as effigies of Israeli leaders. President Hassan Rouhani and other Iranian officials, including Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, attended the demonstration. State media reported that similar rallies were underway in other cities and towns in Iran.
The anti-Israel rallies are an annual event marking al-Quds Day, a historic Arabic name for Jerusalem. Iran sees it as an occasion to express support for the Palestinians and emphasize the importance of Jerusalem for Muslims. Iran has marked the day since the start of its 1979 Islamic Revolution, when the country cut relations with Israel. Iran doesn't recognize Israel and staunchly backs militant groups that are opposed to it, including the Palestinian Hamas that runs the Gaza Strip and the Lebanese Shiite militant Hezbollah group. The rally also inaugurated a huge digital countdown display at Tehran Palestine Square, showing that Israel will allegedly cease to exist in 8,411 days. In 2015, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei predicted that after 25 years — by 2040 — there will no longer be a State of Israel.