Ayatollah Khamenei. Image Credit: Tasnim News, CC BY 4.0.

Lotfallah Dezhkam, the representative of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Fars province, called for the destruction of Israel in a sermon in Shiraz last week.

The clerical firebrand declared, “the global arrogance led by America with complicity of Israel seeks to delay the realisation of […] the destruction of the Zionist regime”.

The remarks were reported by both pro- and anti-regime news agencies, including Fars News, Tasnim and Kian Meli.

The Middle East Media Research Institute reported last year that Dezhkam had said in a televised sermon, “America cannot be the main decision-maker when it comes to strategic matters in the world […] The sound of America being shattered and of its collapse is being heard all over the world.”

The US government classifies Iran’s regime as the leading state-sponsor of international terrorism.

Likewise, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt testified before the House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism in 2020, calling Iran’s regime the world’s top state sponsor of Holocaust denial and antisemitism.

Sheina Vojoudi, an Iranian dissident who fled to Germany to escape persecution, responded to the comments: “The more the mullahs spread hate speech against the Jewish state of Israel, the more Iranian people realise that Israel is our friend, because the regime in Iran is the only enemy that we have.

His hate speech against Israel is not surprising […] Ali Khamenei as the leader of the Islamic Republic calls for the annihilation of Israel and Dezhkam is his representative.”

“Why would our wealth be spent on funding terrorism against Israel and our people suffer in poverty?”, Vojoudi added.