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Iran Marks 'Jerusalem Day' As U.S. Prepares To Unveil Middle East Peace Initiative

Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces burn representations of U.S. and Israeli flags during "al-Quds" Day, Arabic for Jerusalem, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, May 31, 2019. Jerusalem Day began after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, when the Ayatollah Khomeini

Rallies were held across Iran to mark Quds, or Jerusalem, Day, on May 31.

Iran established Quds Day after the 1979 Islamic Revolution as an occasion to express support for the Palestinian people, and the state-backed demonstrations are usually aimed against the United States and Israel.

Rallies were held in about 950 Iranian cities and towns, as well as in Iraq, Lebanon, and elsewhere. In Iran, millions of people were expected to participate in the rallies, which were covered live on state television.

The event this year comes as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to unveil its proposal for a Middle East peace settlement. The White House has touted a June 25-26 regional meeting in Bahrain as a first step in the as-yet-unreleased U.S. plan.

The plan is expected to focus on investment and infrastructure development in the Palestinian territories with funding coming primarily from Arab countries.

Palestinian officials have said they will not attend the Bahrain conference because the establishment of a Palestinian state, the status of the disputed city of Jerusalem, and other issues were not on the agenda.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has described the plan as shameful.

Iran does not recognize Israel and provides support for the anti-Israeli groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa