Rouhani: We’re Ready for Cooperation with Muslim States to Defend Al-Quds

Local Editor

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic Republic is prepared to join hands with other Muslim countries and help defend the holy city of al-Quds against US-‘Israeli’ plots with no strings attached.

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“…The Islamic Republic of Iran stands ready to cooperate with each one of the Muslim countries to defend the holy Quds without any reservation or pre-condition,” Rouhani said on Wednesday, addressing an urgent summit in Istanbul on Washington’s contentious declaration on occupied al-Quds.

Representatives from 57 OIC [The Organization of Islamic Cooperation] members are attending the summit, which is meant to coordinate a response to a US decision to recognize al-Quds as the Zionist entity’s “capital.”

Rouhani also said attempts by certain regional countries to normalize ties with the apartheid ‘Israeli’ regime prompted US President Donald Trump to take the decision.
“I believe that other than any other reason, the attempts of some countries to establish relations and even consultation and coordination with the Zionist regime have incited such a decision”.

Instead of countering the threats of the Zionists, some countries in our region are aligned with the US and Zionists to prescribe the fate of Palestine-If such prescriptions are taken, the Zionists would permanently dominate the Palestinians, Rouhani stressed.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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Imam Khamenei: Palestine Muslim’s Number One Priority, The Key to Victory

Local Editor

23-11-2017 | 14:18

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei pledged that Iran will rush to assist in the battle against the arrogance front wherever necessary.

 

Imam Khamenei


“We announce it clearly that the Islamic Republic of Iran will offer help when there is a need for partnership in the fight against disbelief and arrogance at any place,” Imam Khamenei said on Thursday, stressing that the country will have no consideration for any party when it comes to such assistance.

The Imam made the comments in a gathering of Muslim clerics and intellectuals visiting Tehran for the International Conference on Lovers of Ahlul Bayt [AS] and the Takfiri Issue.

The Imam also reiterated that Palestine remains the Muslim world’s number one priority, describing it as the key to victory against the enemies of Islam.

“By usurping the Islamic state of Palestine, the front of Kufr [disbelief], arrogance and Zionism has turned it [Palestine] into a base to disrupt security of regional countries,” Imam Khamenei added, calling for concerted action against the “cancerous tumor of ‘Israel’.”

The real blow to the arrogance front will be dealt when Palestine returns to its people, the Imam underscored.

Pointing to the plots the US and Zionist regime have hatched against the Islamic Republic over the past decades, Imam Khamenei said Iran has made great advances despite those hostile measures and has firmly stood against the arrogance front.

As regards the fall of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] in Syria and Iraq, Imam Khamenei urged vigilance against more US and ‘Israeli’ plots, warning that a new threat like Daesh could emerge in other regions.

Imam Khamenei also emphasized the need for Muslim unity and fraternity, for raising awareness in the Islamic community about foreign divisive plots, and for countering the factors showing hostility to the Muslim world.

More than 500 scholars from 94 countries attended the conference in Tehran to discuss the ways to counter Takfiri and extremist ideologies in the Muslim world.

The ongoing event, held by the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening, comes a few days after Daesh was flushed out of its last stronghold in Syria’s AlBukamal. The city’s liberation marked an end to the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate it had declared in 2014.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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Live from Baghdad: the secret of Iraq’s renaissance

November 14, 2017

by Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times (cross-posted by special agreement with the author)

BAGHDAD – On a sandstorm-swept morning in Baghdad earlier last week, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the legendary deputy leader of Hashd al-Shaabi, a.k.a. People Mobilization Units (PMUs) and the actual mastermind of numerous ground battles against ISIS/Daesh, met a small number of independent foreign journalists and analysts.

This was a game-changing moment in more ways than one. It was the first detailed interview granted by Mohandes since the fatwa issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani – the immensely respected marja (source of emulation) and top clerical authority in Iraq – in June 2014, when Daesh stormed across the border from Syria. The fatwa, loosely translated, reads, “It is upon every Iraqi capable of carrying guns to volunteer with the Iraqi Armed Forces to defend the sanctities of the nation.”

Mohandes took time out of the battlefield especially for the meeting, and then left straight for al-Qaim. He was sure “al-Qaim will be taken in a matter of days” – a reference to the crucial Daesh-held Iraqi border town connecting to Daesh stronghold Abu Kamal in Syria.

That’s exactly what happened only four days later; Iraqi forces immediately started a mop up operation and prepared to meet advancing Syrian forces at the border – yet more evidence that the recomposition of the territorial integrity of both Iraq and Syria is a (fast) work in progress.

The meeting with Mohandes was held in a compound inside the massively fortified Green Zone – an American-concocted bubble kept totally insulated from ultra-volatile red zone Baghdad with multiple checkpoints and sniffer dogs manned by US contractors.

Adding to the drama, the US State Department describes Mohandes as a “terrorist”. That amounts in practice to criminalizing the Iraqi government in Baghdad – which duly released an official statement furiously refuting the characterization.

The PMUs are an official body with tens of thousands of volunteers linked to the office of the Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces. The Iraqi Parliament fully legalized the PMUs in November 2016 via resolution 91 (item number 4, for instance, states that “the PMU and its affiliates are subject to military regulations that are enforced from all angles.”)

Its 25 combat brigades – comprising Shi’ites, Sunnis, Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Shabak and Kurds – have been absolutely crucial in the fight against Daesh in Samarra, Amerli, Jalawla, Balad, Salahuddin, Fallujah (35 different battles), Shirqat and Mosul (especially over the western axis from Qayarah base to the Iraq-Syrian border, cutting off supply chains and sealing Mosul from an attempted Daesh escape to Syria).

Retaking Kirkuk “in a matter of hours”

Mohandes describes the PMUs as “an official military force” which plays a “complementary role” to the Iraqi Army. The initial plan was for the PMUs to become a national guard – which in fact they are now; “We have recon drones and engineering units that the Army does not have. We don’t mind if we are called gendarmes.” He’s proud the PMUs are fighting an “unconventional war”, holding the high ground “militarily and morally” with “victories achieved in record time”. And “contrary to Syria”, with no direct Russian support.

Mohandes is clear that Iran was the only nation supporting Iraq’s fight against Daesh. Iraq reciprocated by helping Syria, “facilitating over flights by Iranian planes.” With no Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Washington and Baghdad, “the Americans withdrew companies that maintain Abrams tanks.” In 2014

“we didn’t even have AK-47s. Iran gave them to us. The US embassy had 12 Apache helicopters ready to transport diplomats if Baghdad fell to Daesh”.

One year later, “Baghdad would have been occupied” were not for the PMUs; “It’s like you’re in a hospital and you need blood. The Americans would show up with the transfusion when it was too late.” He is adamant “the US did not provide a single bullet” in the overall fight against Daesh. And yet, Mohandes clarifies that the “US may stay in Iraq should the Iraqi government decide it. My personal opinion is well known.”

Mohandes considers the [Western] “media war waged against Hashd al-Shaabi” as “normal from the beginning”; “Countries that supported terrorism would not perceive that a popular force would emerge, and did not recognize the new political system in Iraq.” On that note, he added ruefully, “you can smell petrol”.

Mohandes was personally wounded in Halabja and also in Anfal – Saddam Hussein’s anti-Kurdish operations. He was “pleased to see Kurdistan saved after 1991”; stresses “we had martyrs who fell in Kurdistan defending them”; and considers himself a friend of the Kurds, keeping good relations with their leaders. Iranian advisors, alongside the Iraqi Army and the PMUs, also “prevented Daesh from conquering Erbil.”

Yet after a “unilateral referendum, Iraq had to assert the authority of the state”. Retaking Kirkuk – largely a PMU operation – was “a matter of hours”; the PMUs “avoided fighting and stayed only in the outskirts of Kirkuk”. Mohandes previously discussed operational details with the Peshmerga, and there was full coordination with both Iran and Turkey; “It’s a misconception that Kurdish leaders could rely on Turkey.”

Fallujah, finally secured

The PMUs absolutely insist on their protection of ethnic minorities, referring to thousands of Sabak, Yazidi and Turkmen – among at least 120,000 families – forced by Daesh rule into becoming IDPs. After liberation battles were won, the PMUs provided these families with food, clothing, toys, generators and fuel. I confirmed that many of these donations came from families of PMU fighters all across the country. PMU priorities include combat engineering teams bringing families back to their areas after clearing mines and explosives, and then reopening hospitals and schools. For instance, 67,000 families were resettled into their homes in Salahuddin and 35,000 families in Diyala.

Mohandes stresses that, “in the fight against Daesh in Salahuddin and Hawija, the brigade commanders were Sunnis”. The PMUs feature a Christian Babylon brigade, a Yazidi brigade, and a Turkmen brigade; “When Yazidis were under siege in Sinjar we freed at least 300,000 people.”

Overall, the PMUs include over 20,000 Sunni fighters. Compare it with the fact that 50 per cent of Daesh’s suicide bombers in Iraq have been Saudi nationals. I confirmed with Sheikh Muhammad al-Nouri, leader of the Sunni scholars in Fallujah, “this is an ideological battle against Wahhabi ideology. We need to get away from the Wahhabi school and redirect our knowledge to other Sunni schools.” He explained how that worked on the ground in Haditha (“we were able to control mosques”) and motivated people in Fallujah, 30 minutes away; “Fallujah is an Iraqi city. We believe in coexistence.”

After 14 years in which Fallujah was not secure, and with the Haditha experience fast expanding, Sheikh Muhammad is convinced “Iraq will declare a different war on terror.”

The inclusive approach was also confirmed by Yezen Meshaan al-Jebouri, the head of the Salahuddin PMU brigade. This is crucial because he’s a member of the very prominent Sunni Jebouri family, which was historically inimical to Saddam Hussein; his father is the current governor of Tikrit. Al-Jebouri decries “the state corruption in Sunni regions”, an “impression of injustice” and the fact that for Daesh, “Sunnis who did not follow them should also be killed.” He’s worried about “the Saudi accumulation of developed weapons. Who guarantees these won’t be used against the region?” And he refuses the notion that “we are looked upon by the West as part of the Iranian project.”

Military victory meets political victory

Far from the stereotyped “terrorist”, Mohandes is disarmingly smart, witty and candid. And a full-blooded Iraqi patriot; “Iraq now reinstates its position because of the blood of its sons. We needed to have a military force capable of fighting an internal threat. We are accomplishing a religious national and humanitarian duty.” Soldiers apart, thousands of extra PMU volunteers do not receive salaries. Members of Parliament and even Ministers were active in the battlefield. Mohandes is proud that “we have a chain of command just like the army”; that the PMUs harbor “thousands of people with college degrees”; that they run “dozens of field hospitals, intensive care units” and have “the strongest intel body in Iraq.”

In Baghdad, I personally confirmed the narrative accusing the PMUs of being Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s private army is nonsense. If that was the case, Grand Ayatollah Sistani should take the blame, as he conceptually is the father of the PMUs. Hadi al-Amiri, the secretary-general of the powerful Badr organization, also extremely active in the fight against Daesh, stressed to me the PMUs are “part of the security system, integrated with the Ministry of Defense”. But now “we need universities and emphasis on education.”

Pakistani Prof. Hassan Abbas, from the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University in Washington, went even further, as we extensively discussed not only Iraq and Syria but also Afghanistan and Pakistan; “Iraq is now in a unique position heading towards a democratic, pluralistic society”, proving that “the best answer to sectarianism is religious harmony.” This “inclusiveness against Takfirism” must now connect in the streets “with the rule of law and a fair justice system”. Abbas points out that the base for Iraq to build up is law enforcement via scientific investigation; “Policing is the first line of defense”.

Baghdad has been able, almost simultaneously, to pull off two major game-changers; a military victory in Mosul and a political victory in Kirkuk. If Iraq stabilizes, erasing the Daesh death cult, so will Syria. As al-Jebouri notes, “now every community must have a cut of the cake.” At least 7 million jobs and pensions are paid by Baghdad. People want the return of regularly paid salaries. That starts with decent security all over the country. Mohandes was the engineer – his actual profession – of key battles against Daesh. There’s a wide consensus in Baghdad that without him Daesh would be firmly installed in the Green Zone.

Hashd al-Shaabi is already an Iraqi pop phenomenon, reflected in this huge hit by superstar Ali al-Delfi. From pop to politics is another matter entirely. Mohandes is adamant the PMUs won’t get involved in politics, “and directly won’t contest elections. If someone does, and many individuals are now very popular, they have to leave Hashd.”

From hybrid warfare to national renewal

After days talking to Hashd al-Shaabi personnel and observing how they operate a complex hybrid warfare battlefield coupled with an active recruitment process and heavy presence in social media, it’s clear the PMUs are now firmly established as a backbone underpinning Iraqi state security, an array of stabilization programs – including much needed medical services – and most of all, introducing a measure of efficiency Iraq was totally unfamiliar for almost three decades.

It’s a sort of state-building mechanism springing out of a resistance ethic. As if the ominous Daesh threat, which may have led to as many as 3.1 million IDPs, shook up the collective Iraqi subconscious, awakened the Iraqi Shi’ite proletariat/disenfranchised masses, and accelerated cultural decolonization. And this complex development couldn’t be further from religious bigotry.

Amid Wilsonian eulogies and references to the Marshall Plan, Foreign Minister Ebrahim al-Jaafari is also a staunch defender of the PMUs, stressing it as “an experiment to be studied”, a “new phenomenon with a humane basis operating on a legal framework”, and “able to break the siege of solitude Iraq has suffered for years.”

Referring to the Daesh offensive, Jaafari insisted “Iraq did not commit a crime” in the first place, but hopefully there’s “a new generation of youth capable of reinforcing the experiment”. The emphasis now, following reconciliation, is on “an era of national participation”. He’s adamant that “families of Daesh members should not pay for their mistakes.” Daesh informers will be duly put on trial.

I asked the Foreign Minister if Baghdad did not fear being caught in a lethal crossfire between Washington and Tehran. His response was carefully measured. He said he had enough experience of dealing with “radical” neocons in D.C. And at the same time he was fully aware of the role of the PMUs as well as Iran in Iraq’s reassertion of sovereignty. His warm smile highlighted the conviction that out of the ashes of a cultish black death, the Iraqi renaissance was fully in effect.

خطبتا الجمعة للشيخ احمد بدر الدين حسون من جامع الروضة في مدينة حلب 14 7 2017

خامنئي: السعودية كالبقرة الحلوب بالنسبة لأميركا وسيُقضى عليها في النهاية..

خامنئي: السعودية كالبقرة الحلوب بالنسبة لأميركا وسيُقضى عليها في النهاية

قال المرشد الإيراني السيد علي خامنئي «إنّ السعودية كالبقرة الحلوب بالنسبة لأميركا»، معتبراً أنّ «المجتمع الإسلامي اليوم كبقية المجتمعات يعاني من مشاكل».

ولفت خامنئي إلى أنّ «هناك بعض الناس الوضيعين ممن سلبوا بعض عناصر الأمة الإسلامية حقها في تقرير المصير كالحكومة السعودية، وهذا بسبب البعد عن القرآن وانعدام الإيمان «.

وقال: «لا يجب الانخداع بالمظاهر وهؤلاء سيسقطون، لأنهم باطل وسيزولون ويُقضى عليهم، وسرعة ذلك مرتبطة بصحة عمل المجتمع المؤمن».

وأضاف «حماقة السعوديين جعلتهم يظنون أن بإمكانهم جلب صداقة أعداء الإسلام بالأموال، لكنهم في الحقيقة يفرطون بالثروات الوطنية لأعداء الشعوب».

وذكّر خامنئي بأنه «يوماً ما كانت هناك حكومة إيرانية قال لها الأميركيون صراحة إنها شرطيهم في المنطقة، لكن الشعب الإيراني تمكن من إسقاطها رغم كل الدعم الذي كانت تحظى بِه وجاء بنظام الجمهورية الإسلامية الذي لا تطيق القوى العالمية رؤيته».

ودعا الحكومة الإيرانية «للوضوح في التأكيد على أصول الإسلام»، معتبراً أنّ هذا الأمر «لا ينافي العلاقات العالمية». وأوضح المرشد الإيراني خلال جلسة «الأنس بالقرآن» في أول يوم من شهر رمضان المبارك أنّ «السعوديين أشداء علی المسلمین، رحماء مع الكفار، لكن سيقضى عليهم في النهاية».

‘Political’ Takfirism in #AlSaud Kingdom: From Ancestor to Grandson

September 8, 2016

 

Al Saud’s Mufti

Israa al-Fass

Saudi Mufti, Abdul Aziz Al Ash-Sheikh’s statement considering Iranians not Muslims was not unprecedented to what Muslims know concerning the Takfiri ideology upon which the Saudi kingdom was based. Takfirism wasn’t but the kingdom’s weapon in the battles to push up its political system. It recalls to demonize the rival, and ignores the same thoughts based on its interests.

The descendent of the Al ash-Sheikh family, which goes back to the master of Takfirism in the Arabian Peninsula “Mohammad Abdul Wahhab” (the ancestor), couldn’t but defend the “worst catastrophe in the history of Hajj”, according to France Presse, by claiming the Iranians are non-Muslims.

464 Iranian martyrs were among more than 7 thousand martyrs from over 30 Muslim nations. There is no harm in killing them as long as the Iranians are “the enemies of Muslims” according to Al ash-Sheikh who is far worse than the crime itslef.

Commenting to Saudi newspaper “Mecca”, Al ash-Sheikh considered that appealing Saudi special measures on the Hajj rituals “is not surprising for those (Iranians),” according to him. He further added that: “We must understand that those are not Muslims, they are Zoroastrians, and their animosity with Muslims is a very old issue, especially with Sunnis.”

The Mufti used Takfirism to respond to Imam Ali Khamenei, who embarrassed the Al Saud. He said that “Muslims should seriously consider solving the issue of the Two Holy Mosques and the Hajj pilgrimage issue.”

“Instead of apologizing, the Saudis boldly shuffled off forming a fact-finding committee on the Mina tragedy,” he added.

Imam Khamenei also unveiled that “the Saudis gathered those wounded from the Mina accident with those martyred in closed containers, so they killed them instead of treating them.”

For his part, Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheikh responded to the evidences that indict the Kingdom with committing the crime as he considered the Iranians as non-Muslims, re-describing them as Zoroastrians. The mufti, perhaps, forgot to review the latest announcement of the kingdom’s officials regarding the Iranians. He said they are not Muslims, ignoring the praise Turki al-Faisal related to them in his last statement in the French capital city of Paris.

Some two months earlier, al-Faisal stood to hail the Presians, he recalled that they were among the first monotheist people before converting to Islam. He also honored the Persian heritage and the prominent Muslim scholars of Persian origin, namely al-Ghazali, Ibn Sina and Omar al-Khayyam.

The Saudi schizophrenia is not surprising… And the contradiction between the “Sheikh” and the “Emir’s” words won’t be viewed as disagreement in the opinions of a kingdom that knows nothing about a united vision.

The realistic explanation is politicizing Takfirism, once revived by Saudi practices to provoke against Muslims, and then ignored when its princes’ interests provide approaching those who are considered “non-Muslims”.

One day, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the guardian of Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheikh, started dancing and cheering as he received “the Gulf officer”, the Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. What was Al ash-Sheikh’s view towards the Pahlavi descendent?

Despite this, it wouldn’t be any weird that Takfirism is tongued by the grandson of Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab, the first theorizer of Takfirism in the Muslim Peninsula. Abdul Wahhab’s ideology didn’t consider only the Persians as non-Muslims, but almost all other Muslims were excluded from this circle.

In the book of “Princes of the Sacred Country”, the Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques and Shafi’i Mufti in the late years of the Ottoman Empire, Sheikh Ahmad bin Zaini Dahlan al-Hasani, who witnessed the collapse of the first Saudi state, says the following: “Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab and his group used to judge people (meaning Muslims) as infidels. They legalized killing and stealing them, and they violated the Prophet’s (PBUH) sanctity. They have been clear in considering the nation as infidel since 600 years ago. The first person to declare this was Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab who used to say: I came up to you with a new religion. He believed that Islam is restricted with him and his followers, while the rest of people are all infidels.”

Wahhabism considered almost all Muslims as infidels. It started with Sunnis before any other Muslim sect. Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab offered his service to label the people of Najd and al-Hijaz as infidels to legalize Mohammad ibn Saud and his sons’ invasions, upon which the first Saudi state was established. Now, the son of Al ash-Sheikh revives the history of his grandfather, to offer the same service now with considering the Iranians as non-Muslims. Hence, he approves crimes of killing and targeting them under the kingdom’s regional conflict, in which it is recruiting Muslims to kill Muslims.

“There isn’t any resemblance between the Islam of Iranians and most of the Muslims on the one hand, and extremism and intolerance preached to by Wahhabi scholars and masters of Saudi terrorism on the other,” according to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s Twitter account.

Zarif’s words represented the same thoughts approved in the Chechen’s Grozni Conference’s implications when ousting Wahhabism from Sunni Islam, before retreating the position under Saudi threats… the same is documented in the history of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guardians and the Shafi’i scholars.

To read the original article in Arabic, click here.

Translated by website team

Source: Al-Manar Website

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Iran’s Leader issues message on 2016 Hajj pilgrimage

(Saker note: note the *very* harsh words of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei against the Saudi Wahabis)
Imam Khamenei issues message on 2016 Hajj pilgrimage

 In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful And all praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and Allah’s greetings be upon our Master, Muhammad (PBUH), and upon his Immaculate Household and chosen companions and upon those who follow them rightfully until the Day of Judgment.Muslim brethren and sisters all over the world,

For Muslims, the Hajj season is a period of honor and glory in the eyes of [all] human beings, and a period for the illumination of hearts and humility and supplication before the Creator. Hajj is a sacred and mundane and divine and communal obligation. On one side, [the Quran] commands “Then remember Allah as you remember your forefathers, or with [much] greater remembrance” and “Remember Allah during [specific] numbered days” and on the other side, the declaration [that] “[Masjid al-Haram is a placIran’s Leader issues message on 2016 Hajj pilgrimagee] which We made for the people; equal are the resident therein and one from outside,” shed light on its infinite and diverse aspects.

In this one-of-a-kind obligation, temporal and spatial security bestows serenity upon the hearts of human beings like a clear sign and a shining star and frees the Hajj pilgrim from the siege of factors of insecurity [created] by hegemonic tyrants, which have always threatened all humanity, and let him taste the pleasure of security during a specified period.

The Abrahamic Hajj, which Islam has bestowed upon Muslims, is the manifestation of dignity and spirituality and unity and glory. It shows off the greatness of Islamic Ummah and their reliance on the eternal divine power to ill-wishers and enemies, and highlights their distance from the quagmire of corruption and humiliation and oppression, which international bullying powers impose on human societies. Islamic and monotheistic Hajj is the manifestation of [the Quranic verse, which describes the faithful as being] “firm against the unbelievers, [and] compassionate among themselves.” It is a venue for disavowal of polytheists and [promoting] friendship and unity with believers.

Those who have reduced the Hajj to a mere pilgrimage-tourism trip and have hidden their enmity and grudge against the faithful and the revolutionary nation of Iran under the title of the “politicization of the Hajj” are puny and belittled devils, who shudder as soon as the ambitions of the Great Satan, America, are put in jeopardy. Saudi rulers, who have obstructed the path to Allah and the Masjid al-Haram this year and blocked the way of the fervent and faithful Iranian pilgrims to the House of the Beloved, are disgraced misguided people, who tie their survival on the throne of [their] oppressive power to defending global arrogant powers and [forming] alliance with Zionism and America and making efforts to meet their demand, and they do not shy away from any act of treason to that end.

About one year has passed since the horrible Mina incidents in which several thousand people, on the day of Eid and attired in the Ihram [garment], lost their lives tragically under the [searing] sun and with thirsty lips. A short while before that at the Grand Mosque, a group [of pilgrims] were killed while they were in worship and circumambulation and [saying] prayers. The Saudi rulers are to blame in both incidents; this is something on which all attendants [in Hajj] and observers and technical analysts agree, and some experts [even] speculated the intentionality of the incident. Dawdling and negligence in saving the half-alive injured people whose enchanted souls and eager hearts were busy with dhikr [mention of God] and whispering the divine verses [of the Quran] on [the day of] Eid al-Adha are also definite and proven facts. The ruthless and criminal Saudi men locked them up along with the dead in tightly closed containers and martyred them instead of providing treatment to them and assisting them or even supplying water to their thirsty lips.

Several thousand families from a variety of countries lost their beloved ones and their nations were rendered bereaved. From the Islamic Republic, there were nearly 500 among the martyrs. The families’ hearts are still hurt and bereft and the nation is still in grief and enraged.

However, instead of offering apology and expressing regret and prosecuting those directly behind this horrible incident, the Saudi rulers even refused to set up an international Islamic fact-finding mission in ultimate shamelessness and impudence. Instead of taking the stand as defendant, they took the seat of claimant and brought further to the fore their age-old enmity with the Islamic Republic and with any Islamic flag, which stands against blasphemy and arrogance, with more wickedness and insolence.

Their propaganda mouthpieces, ranging from politicians, whose behavior vis-à-vis Zionists and America is a source of disgrace for the Islamic world, to non-pious muftis living on haram [prohibited] income, who openly issue fatwas against the [holy] Book and [the Prophet’s] Sunna, to media footmen, who cannot be kept from fabricating and spreading lies even by professional conscience, are making a futile attempt to hold the Islamic Republic responsible for the denial of Iranian pilgrims this year’s Hajj.

Seditionist rulers, who have embroiled the Muslim world in civil wars and the carnage of innocents and who have stained Yemen, Iraq, the Levant, Libya and some other countries with blood by forming and equipping Takfiri and evil groups; godless politicians, who have extended the hand of friendship to the occupying Zionist regime and have turned a blind eye to the heart-wrenching suffering and plight of Palestinians and have broadened the extent of their oppression and treason to cities and villages in Bahrain; [as well as] unfaithful and unconscientious rulers, who created the great tragedy of Mina and under the guise of [being] Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques flouted the sanctity of the safe divine sanctuary and slaughtered the guests of the Compassionate God on the Eid day in Mina and before that at the Grand Mosque, are now speaking about non-politicization of the Hajj and accuse others of the big sins they have themselves committed or caused to happen. They are a flagrant example of the clearly enlightening expression of the Holy Quran [where it says]: “And when he turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and to destroy crops and cattle and Allah does not love mischief.  And when it is said unto him: Be careful of your duty to Allah, pride takes him to sin. Hell will settle his account, an [what an] evil resting-place [it is].”

This year too, according to reports, in addition to blocking the Hajj pilgrims from Iran and some other nations, they (the Saudis) have subjected Hajj pilgrims from other countries to unprecedented surveillance with the help of espionage agencies of America and the Zionist regime and have rendered the secure House of God unsafe for all. The Muslim world, including Muslim governments and nations, must know the Saudi rulers and truly realize the reality of their sacrilegious, unfaithful, dependent and materialistic nature; they must not let them go with impunity after [all] the crimes they have caused across the Muslim world, [but] in response to their unjust treatment of the guests of the Merciful God, they must think of a fundamental solution for the management of the Two Holy Mosques and the issue of Hajj. Shirking from this duty will expose the Islamic Ummah to bigger problems in the future.

Muslim Brethren and Sisters! This year, the eager and devoted Iranian pilgrims are missed in the Hajj ritual, but they are in attendance with their hearts and they are standing along Hajj pilgrims from across the globe and are concerned about them and pray for them to be spared any harm from the accursed tree of tyrants. Remember your Iranian brethren and sisters in your prayers and acts of worship and invocation, and pray for the Muslim communities to get rid of their troubles and to have the hand of arrogant powers and Zionists and their stooges cut off the Islamic Ummah.

I personally honor the memory of last year’s martyrs of Mina and the Grand Mosque and the martyrs of Mecca in [the Hajj pilgrimage in] 1987 and I pray to the Almighty God to bestow His forgiveness and mercy upon them and reserve them high positions [in the Heavens]. I salute Hadhrat Baqiatallah al-A’zam (Shall our souls be sacrificed for him) and request that venerable figure’s accepted prayer for the exaltation of the Islamic Ummah and salvation of Muslims from sedition and malevolence of enemies.

And providence belongs to Allah and reliance is on Him.

Dhu al-Qa’dah, 1437-September 2016

Seyyed Ali Khamenei

Al Saud... The Cursed Tree!

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