Leading the prayers in Tehran Great Musalla (Prayer Ground) to mark the end of holy month of Ramzan, Khamenei said Islamic intellectuals across the world should announce their stance on issues like Kashmir in a crystal-clear way, like Iran does.
The leader of Islamic Revolution was hosting thousands who were observing Fitr prayer when he made these remarks, according to AhlulBayt news agency.
This is not the first time Khamenei has spoken in support of ‘Independent Kashmir’, but the timing of his latest remarks is both significant and controversial. First, it comes at a time when Kashmir is witnessing a resurgence in violent protests. Second, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting US President Donald Trump in Washington DC on Monday. The US President has been a vocal critic of Iran, and has reversed many of his predecessor’s decisions to bring the Shia nation back from international sanctions slapped over its nuclear plans and support to militant outfits like Hezbollah.
India-Iran bilateral relationship is supposed to be on a strong footing with trade expanding at a rapid pace and Khamenei’s remarks could act as a dampener.
The Ayatollah who replaced Ruhollah Khomeini as the supreme leader of Iran reiterated his stand through Twitter.
“Muslim world should openly support people of #Bahrain, #Kashmir, #Yemen, etc and repudiate oppressors & tyrants who attacked people during #Ramadan,” Khameini said in one of his two tweets.
“Issues surrounding #Bahrain, #Yemen and various issues in other Muslim countries wound the Islamic body as a whole,” his second tweet said.
In April 2001, Khamenei said, “We hope that the issue of Kashmir will also be solved in the best way which guarantees the rights and interests of the people living in this region so that they will be provided with peace and comfort.”
“For the Islamic Republic of Iran, the issue of Kashmir is an issue of humanity and Islam since the Muslim people of this region are clearly subject to oppression and tyranny and we have always expressed to the government of India our abhorrence towards what is being done to the Muslim people of Kashmir and we will continue to express the same feelings in various circles,” he said in September 1994, according his website.
In 1990, when the Kashmiri insurgency was escalating, Khamenei came out in its support and said, “Look how everywhere in the world where there is a Muslim community, they receive a much harsher treatment compared with others. Kashmir is a contemporary example for this. Muslims there speak out their rights. Anyone who is informed of what Kashmir has gone through, knows what Muslims of Kashmir express is nothing but truth and justice. Those who silence them have an unjust cause. Those who attack them are the ones who are doing the wrong action. Sadly the world watches all this in cold blood.”