In September 2009, several months after the 2008-2009 Gaza war, the Iranian Majlis designated January 18 as "Gaza the Symbol of Resistance Day" (or "Gaza Day"). This year, Iran marked Gaza Day with an international conference titled "Gaza The Symbol of Palestinian Resistance," aimed at "commemorating the resistance of the Palestinian people, and especially the people of Gaza, against the Israeli aggression." The two-day conference, held on January 17-18, was attended by senior Iranian officials, including Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, who described Israel as "a Zionist plague that arrived in the Middle East," and his advisor Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam, who called to launch a third Intifada in the West Bank.
In a press conference on January 14, a few days before the event, Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam stated proudly that the Palestinians' victory in the "Eight Day War" (November 2012) had been achieved by means of "Iranian missiles that fell on Tel Aviv and an Iranian drone that flew over the occupied territories gathering intelligence." He added that "today, more than ever, Israel's annihilation is becoming more tangible."
The conference was also attended by Palestinian representatives, including a representative of the Islamic Jihad organization in Iran, Abu Sharif, who called on all Islamic countries to emulate Iran and aid the war on Israel by lending "spiritual, political, and military support, as Iran has done." The conference also provided a platform for anti-Zionist figures such as French film director Francesco Condemi, who accused the Zionists of "destroying the family and the community in the West."
The following are excerpts from the main speeches given at the conference, and statements made by two prominent regime clerics on the occasion of Gaza Day.
Iranian officials at the 'Gaza Symbol of Palestinian Resistance' conference
Ali Larijani: Israel A Zionist Plague In The Middle East
Ali Larijani said in his speech at the conference: "The Palestinian people is a fighting people that has gone through several phases since the Zionist plague appeared in the Middle East. First, Palestine saw a period of glory. At the time, we [Iranians] were trapped [under the rule of] the 'American regime' [i.e., the regime of Shah Pahlavi], but the heart of our nation was with Palestine... Next, Palestine witnessed a period of decline lasting some four decades. After several wars ended in defeat, the Arab countries lost their hope for victory and began to seek a settlement [with Israel]... In this period... nobody helped the Palestinians.
"But after the [Islamic] Revolution [in Iran], the atmosphere changed, thanks to the Imam [Khomeini]... and the Palestinian cause came back to life..." Larijani went on to describe the "victories" of the resistance camp in the "33-Day War" (the Israel-Hizbullah war of 2006) and the "22-Day War" (Israel's 2008-2009 operation in Gaza), saying: "The new era [we see today] is marked by the revival of the resistance and struggle [to liberate] Palestine... Hizbullah, Hamas, and [Islamic] Jihad are considered the most influential forces in the Middle East, thanks to their fighting spirit."
Larijani's Advisor Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam Calls For Third Intifada
Larijani's advisor Hossein Sheikh Al-Islam said at the conference: "In the 1897 [Zionist] Congress in Basel, the forces of arrogance presented a proposal aimed at preserving their power, namely to occupy Palestine illegally and expand it [into an entity reaching] from the Nile to the Euphrates... After the victory of the  Islamic Revolution... Iran declared its support for the oppressed Palestinian people. The Lebanese Hizbullah is likewise among the supporters of Palestine and of the resistance camp, and its charter declares that its first duty is to destroy the Zionist regime. [Hizbullah] has announced that, even if everybody [else in the world] were to accept an agreement with the Zionist regime, it would not be [party to] this agreement and would [continue to] threaten the security of this regime.
"Following the [November 2012] victory in Gaza, the next piece of ground [to see victory] will be the West Bank... The dear Palestinians must activate the resistance axis in the West Bank. The unity [between Fatah and Hamas] will soon bear fruit, and, after the West Bank, it will be the turn of the territories that were occupied in 1948, and then all the territories of Palestine."
Iranian Official: The Zionist Regime Is "A Cancerous Growth That Must Be Destroyed"
Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, Khamenei's representative at the Martyrs' Foundation, said: "From the very first day... [the Ayatollah] Khomeini spoke of the danger [posed by] the Zionist regime, and regarded the Shah's crimes as connected to this regime. Imam Khomeini said that the Zionist regime must disappear... Palestine will be free that is beyond any doubt and the occupied territories will be restored to the [Palestinian] people...
"Zionism, which arrived in Palestine, became a cancerous growth that must now be destroyed... Our national raison de etre is the defense of the Palestinian people and the struggle against Israel. For the Jews, it is not enough to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran. They want to destroy Islam [as a whole]. The Zionist regime has decreased in power, and even [Henry] Kissinger has predicted that this evil regime will vanish within the next decade.
Anti-Zionist Film Director: The Zionist Regime Destroys The Community And Family In The West
The conference also provided a platform for French anti-Zionist film director Francesco Condemi, who said: "I cannot take up arms and fight the Zionist regime, but I do fight it in my own domain, in the West... Just as the Zionist regime destroys the Palestinian state and nation in the Middle East, it also destroys our communities and families in the West... The Zionist regime knows that, if it launches a new war against some country, especially against Iran, it will be defeated, and that day will see the demise of this evil regime...
"The Zionist regime purchased part of the French [automobile] company Peugeot, and asked it to sever its ties with Iran, which caused thousands of Frenchmen to become unemployed... Many of the French media networks are [likewise] controlled by the Zionist regime, and they prohibit [their staff] from reporting on France's freezing of Iranian funds... Many Western media outlets, especially in France, are under Zionist control, but [these media] are gradually losing their credibility among the public."
Friday Prayer Leader Zia Al-Din Hashemi Calls To "Pray For The Destruction Of The Zionist Regime"
Friday prayer leader Khujat Al-Islam Zia Al-Din Hashemi said in his sermon on Gaza Day that "all Muslims must honor this day by expressing sympathy for the oppressed people of Palestine and by praying for the destruction of the Zionist regime."
Friday Prayer Leader Mohsen Zadeh: As Long As Zionism Exists, The World Will Not Know Peace
Friday prayer leader in Khayrabad Khujat Al-Islam Ja'far Mohsen Zadeh told the Fars news agency: "Gaza Day marks the resistance and steadfastness of the Palestinian people... The Zionist ideology, [which attempts to] designate holy Jerusalem as the capital of the occupiers, reflects the racist [character] of this phony regime, which, since arriving in Palestine, has attempted to change the outward character and the geography of Jerusalem. That is why it is building settlements [in the Jerusalem area].
"The Zionists wish to lend their malicious actions a religious guise, when [the fact is that] there is no connection whatsoever between Israel's racist regime and the [religious] mantle of Judaism. [The Zionist regime] wishes to realize its evil and dangerous political ideas by using Judaism and its laws. Until Zionism is destroyed, there will be no peace and quiet in the world."
 Farsnews.com, September 8, 2009.
 Presstv.ir, January 18, 2013.
 Khayannews.ir, January 15, 2012.
 Presstv.ir, January 18, 2012.
 Mehr (Iran), January 17, 2012.
 Farsnews.com, January 17, 2012.
 Nasimonline.ir, January 17, 2013.
 Yjc.ir, January 17, 2013.
 Yjc.ir, January 17, 2012.
 Farsnews.com, January 18, 2013.
 Farsnews.com, January 17, 2013.