Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urges Muslims to unite against “oppressors” invading Kashmiris
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, made a statement on Kashmir which is supportive of separatism. He equated Kashmir to Yemen and Bahrain and said all Muslims globally should openly support the people of Kashmir and stand in solidarity with them.
Ali Khamenei posted this on his official website and his official Twitter handle both. This may lead to a diplomatic tussle between India and Iran.
He asked all Muslim nations to support the cause of Kashmir and have a clear stance on all ” oppressed ” Muslims. After 7 years, Ali Khamenei has raised the issue of Kashmir.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) June 26, 2017
In 2010, Ali Khamenei and Iranian foreign minister both bracketed Kashmir with Gaza and Afghanistan and said that the struggle in Kashmir needs widespread support of Muslims. He also criticised India for human rights violations in the valley then. The Indian government lodged a official protest through diplomatic channels.
Ali Khamenei’s renewed support can be because of two reasons :
1) Pakistan is succeeding in narrative building and internationalizing the Kashmir issue. Pakistan has always projected it as a case of uprising for self-determination and against tyranny.
2) After the easing of US sanctions, cold war with Saudi Arabia, and involvement in proxy wars in Syria and Yemen, Iran is keen to portray itself as the genuine Islamic power, which cares for all Muslim issues.
Former diplomats and experts, meanwhile, have said that the supreme leader’s comment will not be helpful to Iran because it comes at a time when India and Iran are cooperating to build a port in the city of Chabahar, and US and its regional allies are attempting to isolate Iran.