Probably peeved at the India’s first ever prime-ministerial visit to Israel, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has raked up the Kashmir bogey again, second time in two weeks. This time Khamenei has called Iran’s judiciary to take up international issues to speak for Muslims of Myanmar and Kashmir.
According to Iran’s news agency IRNA, while speaking to the officials of Iran’s judiciary, Khamenei asked the country’s judiciary to “enter international issues such as the sanctions, US confiscations of property, terrorism, the support for oppressed personalities like Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky [Nigerian Shiite leader] or Muslims of Myanmar and Kashmir, and to express its firm support or opposition in order to be reflected globally.”
Just ten days ago, while leading the Eid al-Fitr prayers in Tehran, repeating his oft-quoted line of “Kashmir being an oppressed nation”, Khamenei had exhorted the Muslim world to openly support “Yemen, Bahrain and Kashmir”. He had called on the Islamic community to unite against the “injuries being inflicted on the world of Islam.”
While speaking about Yemen, another front in the battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia to establish regional supremacy, he had said that “the World of Islam should explicitly support the people of Yemen” and had likened the situation there with Bahrain and Kashmir saying, “our people can back this great movement within the World of Islam. Just as we explicitly express our position against enemies and adversaries, the world of Islam–especially the elites in it–should follow this path and take a position towards seeking to please God, absolutely, even if it leads to dissatisfaction of the arrogant front.”
Iran considers creation of Israel as the worst event of the 20th Century and holds annual Al Quds Rally on June 23 every year since 1979 Islamic Revolution chanting ‘Death to Israel’ to show its hostility towards Israel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the first ever prime-ministerial visit to Israel and in a first, he has dehyphenated the Palestine ties with the Israel ties, unlike any previous official Indian visit when Indian leaders made it a point to include both Palestine and Israel in their itinerary. During his visit in October 2015, first by an Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee first went to Palestine and then to Israel. Sushma Swaraj followed suit during her January 2016 visit. But India has also worked to maintain its Palestine ties. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in India in May this year where India reaffirmed its solidarity with the Palestinian cause.
This is not the first time that Khamenei has raised the Kashmir bogey. India had summoned the Iranian Ambassador in 2010 to issue demarche after Khamenei’s repeated calls to the Muslim community to support the so-called struggle in Kashmir. Though India was a friendly nation to Iran and it abstained from voting on a UN Security Council resolution on human rights violations in Iran, Khamenei went on to declare Kashmir a nation and India a Zionist regime.
His official website mentions* at least three other instance, going as far back as 1990, when Khamenei tried to barge-in in an issue that India considers strictly bilateral, between India and Pakistan, with a non-compromising stand that Kashmir is an integral part of India.
This is despite the fact that Iran has emerged as India’s third largest oil supplier and Iran’s second biggest buyer after international sanctions were eased in 2015 with a landmark nuclear deal that ended Iran’s global isolation. Last year, PM Modi visited Tehran and India-Iran inked a deal to develop the strategic Chabahar port in response to China developing Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province and bilateral trade ties between both countries are rapidly expanding.