By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
Tehran's temporary Friday Prayers leader, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, has called on Saudi citizens to rise up against their country's rulers and to speak out against their "crimes."
"You read the Koran for hours; how much of its message do you comprehend? Why don't you express your hatred towards the oppressive government? Why are you silent?" Movahedi Kermani was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies.
The hard-line Shi'ite cleric accused the Sunni Saudi government, which he said considers itself "the main axis of the Islamic world," of committing atrocities in its air campaign in Yemen.
There's been a deepening of tensions and an escalation of rhetoric between the regional rivals over the Saudi campaign against the Shi'ite Huthi movement in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of arming the Huthis. Tehran has denied the accusations, saying it only provides political and humanitarian support.
Iranian officials have blasted the air strikes and accused Saudis of killing innocent civilians, including children. Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has described the air campaign as "genocide" while the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammad Ali Jafari, has said that the Saudis are following in Israel's footsteps by carrying out air strikes in Yemen.
Earlier this week, senior Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Borujerdi called Saudi Arabia's King Salam a traitor to Islam.
Movahedi Kermani said that, in some parts of Saudi Arabia, there are "cries and objections against that oppressor regime" while adding that this is not enough.
"If the entire Arabian Peninsula will rise up and shout slogans against those oppressors, then their fate will resemble the fate of Islamic Iran [which came into being after the 1979 revolution that ended the Shah's rule -- Eds.], in which the oppressors were annihilated and their criminal acts came to an end," he said.
Movahedi Kermani also said that two of Islam's holiest sites located in Mecca and Medina should be liberated from "the oppressors."
In the past few days, a number of state-sponsored protests have been held in different cities in Iran against the bombings in Yemen.
In recent weeks, Iranian media reported that worshippers had chanted slogans against the house of Saud, such as "Death to Al-Saud," after Friday prayers in several cities, including Tehran and Qom.
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