Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed Israel as the “main threat” to the Muslim world, warning that the regime is trying to Judaize the occupied Palestinian lands.
Zarif made the remarks on Tuesday upon his arrival in the Turkish city of Istanbul, where he is expected to attend an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on recent developments at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
“The main threat to the Islamic world is the Zionist regime,” which is fueling other threats to the region such as terrorism and extremism, Zarif said.
He also called on Muslim and regional countries to be vigilant and prevent Israel from distracting the Islamic world’s attention from the “main threat” facing the region.
Israel continues its policy of occupation through efforts “to change the identity and the status of the occupied territories and Judaize these areas,” Zarif added.
The top Iranian diplomat further expressed hope that the OIC meeting’s decisions would help launch a coordinated international move to end the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.
In a press release on its website, the OIC said the Istanbul meeting was aimed at sending “a unified message to the international community by the Muslim World, demanding it to commit Israel, the occupying power, to respect the resolutions of the international legitimacy, the Geneva Conventions and all resolutions on the Palestinian issue, especially al-Quds al-Sharif, which is an integral part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.”
Tensions erupted in East Jerusalem al-Quds after a deadly shootout on July 14 outside the Haram al-Sharif, which Jews call Temple Mount.
Using the gunfight as a pretext, Israel set up metal detectors and surveillance cameras at entrances to the al-Aqsa compound.
The restrictive measures sparked criticism worldwide, with Palestinians saying that the bans were meant to expand the regime’s control over the holy site and change its status quo.
On July 24, Tel Aviv backed down in the face of protests as well as violent clashes and removed all the restrictions at the al-Aqsa compound, but tensions still remain high there.
According to latest figures, 15 Palestinians were killed and about 1,400 others were injured in the al-Aqsa clashes over the past few days.
During his visit, the Iranian foreign minister sat down with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to discuss issues of bilateral and regional importance, including the Syria peace process which is being mediated by Iran, Russia and Turkey.
They called for the reinforcement of the intra-Syrian talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana.