|Previous anti-Israel demonstration at the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai|
The Basij are a paramilitary arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. They are volunteer fanatics to keep Iranians under constant surveillance and they are deployed to stop demonstrations and to spy on and intimidate all Iranians against doing anything the regime doesn’t want.
They are active at all levels, and recruit member as young as elementary school students.
Earlier this month, the Council for the Study of Student Mobilization of Hamadan Universities – the Basij branch of that university – threatened to convert the Jewish pilgrimage site Mausoleum of Esther and Mordechai into a Palestinian consulate in response to the “Deal of the Century.”
“We warn the United States and the Zionist regime …that the first act of fulfilling their filthy desires and the slightest attack on Palestine and the holy al-Quds means that they will no longer occupy a place as Esther’s tomb. And with God’s help, with the recent conspiracy and failure to fulfill the promise of deterioration and child-killing Zionist racist regime we’ll turn it into a Palestine consulate and you will see the fulfillment of this promise,” their statement said.
In response, Ali Malmir, Director General of Cultural Heritage and Tourism of Hamadan Province, said that the Mausoleum and the consulate have nothing to do with each other. He said that there are specific rules and regulations governing cultural heritage buildings while the Consulate location is a matter for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He said his Cultural Heritage Office has not received any news or information in this regard.
The head of the student Basij in Hamadan, Tayeb Frydras, responded to Malmir as well, saying that Iran must do what is necessary to show its power and if the US or Israel threaten Muslim cultural sites like Jerusalem, then it is foolhardy not to threaten Jewish cultural sites that could force the Zionists to act as Iran wants.
Frydras emphasized that the Basij would not wait for the permission of anyone in the comment, saying: “If the people were waiting for someone’s permission, they would never make a revolution,” he said. Frydras said that it would be a good idea to turn the building into a Palestinian consulate but that idea does not seem to have any official sanction.
The ARAM Alliance, a watchdog group for minority rights in Iran, reported that the Basij student group tried to make good on its threats on Saturday, attempting to raid the tomb.
It is unclear whether these Basij statements have the official or tacit support of the IRGC. However, given that Frydras made his second statement in response to the heritage director in Hamadan, it appears that the IRGC did not even pretend to dissuade him from continuing on with his threats.
This is just more proof of the institutionalized antisemitism in Iran’s leadership, despite their insistence that they respect Judaism as a divine religion. Obviously that respect doesn’t exist when they can threaten Jewish sites in response to American actions.
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