The supreme leader of Iran, Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, who is known for making controversial statements, has in his message marking the festival of Eid on Monday urged the Islamic world and the allies of Iran to openly support the ‘innocent people’ of Kashmir against ‘oppressors who invade’ them.
This is not the first time that Khamenei has made a statement supporting the demand for an independent Kashmir. “The issue of Kashmir is an issue of Islam since the Muslims of this region are clearly subject to oppression 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.
However, unlike the early 1990s and 2000s, when Khamenei made such statements, India’s relations with Iran are strong and the two are cooperating in multiple spheres, including the development of transit corridors.
The timing of this statement is also significant, given that it comes when the Islamist forces in the valley, aided by Pakistan, have organised protests, killed policemen and military personnel and have explicitly demanded the creation of an Islamic state, receiving little to no support from the international community.
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