Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday delivered some of his harshest remarks to date against Israel, describing the Jewish state as a "fake nation" in a "dirty chapter" of history.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a pro-Palestinian gathering in Tehran that Israel is a "cancerous tumor" that requires a step by step" treatment, according to the Associated Press.
The creation of Israel is "one of the dirty chapters of history that will be closed, with the grace of God," Khamenei said, arguing that the Jewish state was formed by bringing Jews from around the world to the Middle East to settle Palestinian land–a process that he described as replacing the region's "true entity."
In his 33-minute speech, Khamenei called for all Muslims to support the Palestinians and "resistance" movements like Hamas and Hezbollah, terrorist organizations that receive backing from Tehran and are committed to Israel's destruction.
The "resistance movements should have all necessary instruments," the supreme leader said. He added that those involved in such groups are "preventing the domination of the Zionist regime in the entire region."
Khamenei, who has the ultimate authority inside Iran on state matters, has long called for Israel to be destroyed and said last year that the Jewish state will not exist in 25 years.
Iran has hosted similar conferences to support the Palestinians and oppose Israel every four years since the early 1990s, the AP noted. About 80 delegations, mainly from Islamic countries, and pro-Palestinian activists attended the two-day conference.
Several senior Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, were present at the gathering, the venue of which was "decorated with a large map of Israel and the Palestinian territories covered in the colors of the Palestinian flag," the AP reported.
Many experts have noted that Iran's leadership has not moderated its stance on Israel since signing the landmark nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers in July 2015.
"There is absolutely no indication of one iota of moderation by the Iranian elite in their hostile intentions toward Israel since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear agreement. Iranian policy in this regard is driven by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," Dore Gold, former director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, told the Jerusalem Post last week.
"In September 2015, Khamenei himself said that the nuclear agreement would not change the destruction of Israel in 25 years," said Gold, who currently heads the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. "Those who asserted that the Iran nuclear agreement would lead to a moderation of Iranian attitudes were completely wrong."