A senior Iranian military official has warned that there will be a “far more widespread” Intifada (uprising) against Israel in response to President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the Iranian media reported. “Although America predicts that its decision will not trigger a serious response because of the volatile situation in the region, leaders in Washington must wait for an Intifada far more extensive than the first and second Intifadas,” Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah Safi warned. He claimed that Trump’s decision also showed that the United States cannot not an impartial mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Iranian general also stressed that Washington and its allies must accept that Iran and its regional allies have become the most dominant power in the Middle East. With the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, he said, the “rules of the game” have changed in Syria and the broader region. He further claimed that the US-led military interventions have only empowered the “axis of resistance and expanded its regional influence as the primary and determining player of the new rules of the game.” Safi emphasized that Iran will negotiate over its missile program and described it as the regime’s “red line.”

Comment: Iranian leaders have been trying to exploit the Trump administration’s Jerusalem announcement to further cement its ties with Hamas and portray Iran as the defender of the Palestinians. As one analyst wrote in IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency, Tehran hopes that Washington’s decision would help Iran’s efforts to further strengthen the “resistance front” in the region to fight Israel. 

Furthermore, Iranian leaders and clerics are encouraging Palestinian armed groups to wage another armed uprising against Israel. President Hassan Rouhani and Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani both called the leadership of Hamas and pledged Iran’s “all-out support” for them in their armed struggle against the Jewish state. According to the read-out of the phone conversations with the leadership of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Soleimani also emphasized that other groups within the “resistance axis in the region” are also ready to defend the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, an aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, also called for an uprising against Israel. “With this decision, Trump rejected all negotiations of the past seven decades and demonstrated that the only and only way to achieve the Palestinian aspiration is through intifada, which would change the Zionist regime’s daylight into a dark night. You should rage against this occupying regime; and the more you inflict damage to this usurper and criminal regime, the closer you have taken a step toward pleasing God,” he said.