Watch: Iranians protest, call for Syria withdrawal

In rare act of defiance, thousands in Esfahan took to the streets on Al Quds Day - not to oppose Israel, but their own government.

Ari Soffer ,

Quds Day march in Iran (file)
Quds Day march in Iran (file)

Last Friday Iran, and its supporters around the world, marked Al Quds Day, the annual day of Israel-hatred established by the Islamic Republic's founder Ayatollah Khomeini.

The mass rallies, featuring calls for the annihilation of the State of Israel, the United States and Great Britain, as well as support for the Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies like Hezbollah, were widely and proudly circulated by Iranian state media.

But in the city of Esfahan, south of the Iranian capital Tehran, another large protest was taking place which Iranian authorities preferred to ignore, for obvious reasons.

Footage obtained by Saudi Arabia's Al Arabiya network - and translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) - shows thousands of Iranians protesting against the regime on Al Quds Day in the city, which is the capital of Esfahan Province.

The marchers voiced their frustration over the Iranian regime's continued, costly deployment in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime, and called on the government to instead use its resources on improving everyday life in Iran.

Demonstrators can be heard chanting "Think about us! Leave Syria!" and "Support us Iranians!"

Scores of Iranian soldiers - including senior commanders - have been killed or wounded fighting Syrian rebels as well as the ISIS jihadist group in Syria and Iraq, and Tehran has poured huge amounts of money into its efforts to prop up the Assad regime and gain a stronger foothold in Iraq, in great part via the establishment of a number of powerful Shia Islamist militias in both countries.

In both countries, however, a bloody stalemate prevails, leaving many Iranian frustrated over their theocratic government's continued investment there at a time when ordinary Iranians are still struggling to make ends meet.