Ever since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Iranian government has organized anti-Zionist protests on the last Friday of Ramadan, known as Quds Day (‘Jerusalem Day’). The event typically included chants of “down with Israel” and “down with the USA”. This year, however, the government allowed a different kind of anti-Israel protest to be held a few days early – a more peaceful one, organised by opposition activists.
In a very rare move, the interior ministry granted permission for the opposition to hold an independent protest. On July 23, reformists and opposition groups demonstrated in front of the United Nations office in Tehran, expressing their sympathy for Palestinian civilians who had lost their loved ones. This time, according to our Observers, there were no “down with…” slogans.
Several celebrities took part in the protest, including Iranian film director Jafar Pahani, who has won prizes at Cannes and done jail time in his home country, where he has been banned from producing work for the next two decades.
Some of the reformists who took part in this protest also took part in the official protest on Quds Day, but abstained from chanting some of the more violent slogans.