Iranians boycott anti-Israel protests, retweet #WeStandWithIsrael

As Iran’s mullahs failed to generate large crowds on Quds Day — an annual day of protest against Israel — tens of thousands expressed support for the Jewish state on Twitter.

By: World Israel News Staff

As lower-than-expected crowds took to the streets of Iran on Friday to mark the regime-led Quds Day — an annual day of protest against Israel — some Iranians launched a Twitter campaign to express support for the Jewish state.

Radio Zamaneh, an Amsterdam-based Persian-language station, posted a number of clips showing the low turnout of people attending Quds (Jerusalem) Day demonstrations in Tehran Friday, demonstrating an unprecedented lack of interest in a government-sponsored rally.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) noted that “state televisions were unable to show massive or relatively massive scenes of the population.”

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry launched a Twitter campaign, reportedly retweeted by tens of thousands of Iranians either inside Iran or outside, under the hashtag #WeStandForIsrael.

Sharona Avginsaz, who heads the foreign ministry’s Persian language efforts,  said that Israel messages to the world in a number of languages.

The Persian-language site has around 60,000 followers, according to Avginsaz said, some 1.5 million have the Twitter handle

Avginsaz said that Twitter is banned in Iran but that many Iranians have found ways to hook up anyway.

“Our Twitter page reached 2.5 million Iranians this week. The hashtag #WeStandWithIsrael tweeted by more than a million.”

Iranians care about domestic issues, not Israel

Annual Quds Day demonstrations took place at a time when numerous Iranians have taken to the streets to protest socioeconomic problems. Strikes and rallies in a wide range of industries and locations have focused on issues such as delayed paychecks, difficult working conditions and a stagnant economy.

In one video link, described in an article that appears on the website of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), a young Iranian cleric can be seen dressed in religious garb, wearing a turban on his head. He is carrying a sign saying: “Will the day come when we demonstrate for our homeland Iran and our nation, which is suffering, and not for others?”

He shows this sign to others, who are shown walking past him blessing him, praising him and justifying him.

The JCPA article also describes how during the demonstrations, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, went out with his bodyguards to join the demonstrators for a few minutes. He was ambushed by some who cursed him, accusing him of selling out his homeland and telling him that he deserved to die.

According to the NCRI, on most of the 10 routes announced for the Quds Day demonstrations in Tehran, including the main routes, the crowd was very small.

The NCRI’s statement was carried on an opposition news site called the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

“In Azadi Square, most of the buses were empty. In many cities, even Qom, which is the centre of many governmental and fundamentalist organizations, the streets were empty,” the statement said.

“In cities such as Isfahan, Natanz, Rasht, Boukan, Islamabad West, Kashan, Saqez, Nahavand, Shiraz, Karaj, there was no news of the march, and there was a handful of people on the streets,” the statement continued.

“Only the sounds of the slogans were heard from the state loudspeakers, and people did not respond to the slogans.

“Government officials unsuccessfully tried to crowd the streets by offering free bus and subway services in Tehran and other cities, using free buses and sending revolutionary guards, basijis and plainclothes agents. The regime did not even succeed in bringing families of victims of war and other people whose livelihoods were provided by government bodies.”