Rallies next week across Iran to mark the annual Quds Day mass protest against Israel and its allies will involve protesters driving in packed motor vehicles while shouting “Death to Israel! Death to America!” through the windows at startled pedestrians rather than taking to the streets on foot.
The change is a result of the need for isolation during the Chinese coronavirus epidemic and protesters will still be required to wear masks while driving. The same applies to those traveling in buses chartered for the same purpose.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on state television Saturday the elite Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) would be in charge of organising the car and bus rallies, adding those joining in could still chant the slogans from their vehicles and wave flags as long as they strictly obeyed road rules and regulations at all times.
Reuters reports Rouhani said Quds Day, held each year on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan which falls on May 22, would go ahead as normal in 218 other towns and cities, with certain conditions applied.
“The coronavirus danger is still there, but our situation is better than before,” he said. “”We have crossed the main peak.”
Crying “Death to America” or “Death to Israel” is a popular pastime in Iran, sometimes used as a greeting between friends and at other times as an opener or closer to large public gatherings.
Family events are also common venues for the chants where it is used to enliven proceedings, although senior Islamic clerics have in the past made clear not all Americans should take the cursing personally because it does not mean death to all the American people – just some, as Breitbart News reported.
In April last year, Iranian lawmakers opened a new session of the country’s Parliament with chants of “Death to America.”
The taunt was meant as a response to the White House’s designation the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also registered its displeasure by calling the U.S. Central Command, known as CENTCOM, and all its forces as “terrorists”, and labeling the U.S. a “supporter of terrorism.”