Iranian cleric Ebrahim Raisi (AP/Vahid Salemi)

On a tour of the Lebanon-Israel border, the Iranian cleric urged Palestinians to pursue terror, “fighting,” and “steadfastness,” “not the negotiating tables,” expressing hope for the “liberation of Jerusalem.”

Ebrahim Raisi, a close associate of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who was apparently recently designated as his heir, toured the Lebanon-Israel border last Tuesday, accompanied by senior Iranian and Hezbollah officials. While there, Raisi declared, “Soon we will witness the liberation of Jerusalem.”

In the photographs of the tour, published by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the officials’ faces are blurred.

During the tour Raisi told a group of Hezbollah terrorists that the group’s influence is “visible across the Islamic countries.”  Hezbollah has an overt presence in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as well as a covert presence in several other countries.

Hezbollah’s successes have left the Palestinian forces “filled with hope,” he said.

Thanks to Hezbollah, “Palestine has so far succeeded in withstanding Israel,” and the Palestinians have learned “that it is fighting and steadfastness, not the negotiating tables, that determine the fate of their country,” Raisi asserted.

“Hezbollah’s fighting and efforts have caused the establishment of the steadfastness and the resistance in the Islamic countries. Inshallah, soon we will witness the liberation of Jerusalem,” he declared.

Raisi is an Iranian Assembly of Experts member who lost in his presidential run against incumbent Hassan Rohani in the May 2017 election.

During his campaign, Raisi told a state TV talk show that “today Americans are afraid of the word Iran,” commenting, “This is the solution. The solution is not backing down. We must force them to retreat.”

Raisi has strong relations with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) security apparatuses and has served in top roles in the Iranian judicial system, including as prosecutor-general, Supreme Court vice president and Tehran prosecutor-general. He heads the influential charity organization Astan-e Qods Razavi, and is imam of the Reza mosque in Mashhad.

During his visit in Lebanon, Raisi met with Hezbollah officials, including Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, and other Shi’ite officials such as Lebanese parliamentary speaker and Amal movement head Nabih Berri.