Iran’s supreme leader applauds US campus protests against Israel

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei applauded U.S. campus pro-Palestine protesters, telling them they are “standing on the right side” of history and they’ve created a branch of the “Resistance Front” against the Jewish state.

Khamenei penned a letter expressing support for protests that have sprung up across the the U.S. on college campuses, praising the students for their “courageous defense of the Palestinian people.”

“You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government’s ruthless pressure — a government which openly supports the usurper and brutal Zionist regime,” Khamenei said in the letter.

He called Israel an “apartheid Zionist regime” that is committing “genocide” in Gaza.

Iran sees Israel as an enemy state and has vehemently opposed the Jewish state’s bombardment of Gaza, which started following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack that killed around 1,200 Israelis and resulted in 250 taken hostages. Since then, Israel’s military operation has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gazan health authorities.

Tehran has been accused internationally of relying on its proxies, like Hezbollah and Houthis in Yemen, to go after Israel. Tensions in the region escalated more after Iran’s embassy complex in Syria was attacked allegedly by Israel, killing senior officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The attack caused Iran to retaliate against Israel in mid-April with drones and more than 300 missiles.

Khamenei, who has suppressed any dissent coming from the nation’s interior, has also said the “solidarity” some professors have shown to the protests is a “significant and consequential development.”

“This can offer some measure of comfort in the face of your government’s police brutality and the pressures it is exerting on you,” he said in the letter. “I too am among those who empathize with you young people, and value your perseverance.”

The protests on college campuses in the U.S. kicked off at Columbia University, with the movement spreading to other institutions around the country and beyond. Students were protesting Israel’s military operation in Gaza and pressed schools to divest from organizations that are making a profit from the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) reacted to Khamenei’s remarks on the social media platform X, saying that “When you’ve won the Ayatollah, you’ve lost America.”

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