Khamenei posts picture showing pro-Iran leaders praying in Jerusalem

Liberators of Jerusalem: Khamenei posts picture showing Nasrallah, Assad praying in Al-Aqsa 'after Israel's defeat'
2 min read
25 May, 2020
Social media users were quick to ridicule Iran's latest propaganda content - a painting of an imagined gathering of Iran-backed leaders at the 'liberated' Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
The painting has been interpreted as a hierarichal ordering of pro-Iran leaders [Twitter]
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei conjured up a storm on social media on Sunday after his press office posted a painting showing several rows of prominent Iran-linked leaders praying at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Entitled "Liberators of Jersualem", the picture shows a vast crowd of men praying together to mark Eid al-Fitr, against the iconic backdrop of the Dome of the Rock.

The Iranian regime issues regular propaganda insinuating the destruction of Israel to mark related historical events or religious festivals.

The first row of the congregation includes Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, alongside the political leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, and Bahraini Shia cleric Isa Qassim.

Gazing down on the crowd and outlined in clouds is Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of Iran's elite foreign fighting brigade, the Quds Force, who was killed in a US strike on Baghdad in January.

The second row includes Ziad al-Nakhala, the political leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, imprisoned Nigerian Shia cleric Ibraheem Zakzaky, the current leader of Iran's Quds Force Esmail Ghaani and the leader of Yemen's Houthi rebels, Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi.

However the third and most distant row of faces caused the biggest stir, with the figure of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad - whose regime Iran's military has helped prop up in the years-long civil war - is barely perceptible, standing alone at the very end.

Commentators were quick to see the painting as confirmation of rumours of a rift between the Syrian leadership and its military backers.

"Bashar Assad is hidden away because even Khamenei's people think he's irrelevant. You can't make satire when this is reality," tweeted Lebanese writer Joey Ayoub.

Many users joked about how challenging it was spot Assad in the crowd, while others remarked on how long it took to notice Soleimani's airborne figure.

Read also: Comment: Germany's ban on Hezbollah: A double-edged sword

The picture was widely ridiculed as Iranian propaganda by many Twitter users, some joking that a partially obscured figure on the far edge of the front row was Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro, another Iran ally.

Iran dispatched five oil tankers to deliver much-needed fuel to Venezuela last week, in spite of US sanctions imposed on both states.

Maduro thanked Iran in a televised address, describing the two nations as "two revolutionary peoples who will never kneel down before North American imperialism".

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