Iran’s Supreme Leader Welcomes U.S. College Students to the ‘Resistance’ Against ‘Zionist Elite’

Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is thanking college students in the U.S. for joining Tehran’s “resistance front” against Israel and the U.S. with their protests over the mounting death toll in Gaza.

In an open letter published Thursday, Khamenei addressed American students directly, telling them, “This message is an expression of our empathy and solidarity with you. As the page of history is turning, you are standing on the right side of it.”

He went on to praise them as newfound allies of Iran, writing: “You have now formed a branch of the Resistance Front and have begun an honorable struggle in the face of your government's ruthless pressure.”

In addition to battling the U.S. government and Israel, he used a common antisemitic trope to note that the “resistance front” is also taking on “the global Zionist elite–who owns most U.S. and European media corporations or influences them through funding and bribery.”

The fact that college professors have backed campus protesters, he said, is “a significant and consequential development.”

“I too am among those who empathize with you young people, and value your perseverance,” he said, before closing his message to students with one last tip: “My advice to you is to become familiar with the Quran.”

The endorsement from a man whose regime has repressed its own citizens for decades sparked shock and mockery on social media, where many questioned if student protesters in the U.S. were familiar with Khamenei’s track record.

“When you’ve won the Ayatollah, you’ve lost America,” Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) wrote on X.

Khamenei’s praise for U.S. protests also comes less than two weeks after Iran executed three men who were swept up during anti-government protests in late 2022. They joined four others who’ve been hanged since December as part of Tehran’s brutal response to protests against the Islamic Republic.

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