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Palestinian FM: Palestinians’ expectations of Iran several-fold increased

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Aug 28, IRNA -- Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said here Tuesday keeping in mind Iran’s important regional role Palestinian nation’s expectations of IR of Iran’s continued support during its NAM presidency have several-fold increased.

According to an IRNA reporter, the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maliki expressing happiness over the rotating presidency of Iran over the Non-Aligned Movement, and addressing the reporters present at Imam Khomeini (P) International Airport said, “Sponsoring of the NAM Summit in Tehran is of significant importance and the Palestinians are happy over Iran’s presidency of this movement during the next three years.”

He reiterated, “The establishment of peace and friendship in the world is among the most important objectives of NAM and we hope this movement would in the future play a greater role at the international scene.”

The Palestinian Authority foreign minister emphasizing that Iran has always supported the Palestinians’ ideals most properly, added, “We hope the members of the Non-Aligned Movement at this XVI Summit meeting, too, would support the Palestinians more than before and adopt good decisions in defense of the Palestinian nation, because the NAM member countries have always had a good record in defense of the Palestinian nation.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran officially endorses the creation of a Palestinian state, regarding Israel as Palestine under occupation by the 'Zionist regime'. Ayatollah Khamene’ie, the Supreme Leader of Iran, rejects a Two State Solution and has stated that Palestine is inseparable, while Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a free referendum for the entire Palestinian population, including Arab citizens of Israel, to determine the type of government in the future Palestinian state, while reiterating that establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel would 'never mean an endorsement of the Israeli occupation'.

Prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) held close ties with the Iranian opposition groups. Following the revolution, Iran ended its alliance with Israel and started supporting the Palestinians, symbolized by turning over the Israeli embassy in Tehran to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Before the Iranian revolution, there was no Palestinian embassy in Iran. According to the Iranian academic and political analyst Hooshang Amirahmadi, the Shah was much more interested in maintaining good relations with Israel and the United States, than in the Palestinians or in the Arab-Israeli peace process.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) held close ties with the Iranian opposition, training Iranian dissidents trained at PLO camps in Lebanon before the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

After the 1979 Iranian revolution the PLO backed the 1979 revolution, and several days after the revolution, the PLO chief Yasser Arafat led a Palestinian delegation to Iran. The Iranian Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan hosted an official welcome ceremony for Arafat, where the keys to the former Israeli embassy were symbolically handed over to the PLO.

Ayatollah Imam Khomeini (P), however, criticized the PLO for its nationalist, pan-Arab agenda, asking Arafat to model the PLO on the principles of the Islamic revolution, a request which was declined by Arafat.

The Iran-PLO relations deteriorated further when Arafat supported Iraq during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. Iran condemned Arafat in 1988, after he recognized Israel, renounced the liberation armed forces movements labeling them as “terrorism”, and called for peace talks with Israel.

The PLO maintained diplomatic relations with Tehran, but Iran did not aid the PLO again until 2000.

After the eruption of the second Palestinian intifada, in September 2000 after the collapse of Middle East peace talks at Camp David, Arafat released imprisoned Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants, a decision that restored the relations between Iran and the Palestinian National Authority. The renewed support became evident when Israeli commandos captured the Karine A in 2002, a ship carrying 50 tons of advanced weaponry from Iran to Gaza.

Hamas is a militant and political organization currently in power in the Gaza Strip. Hamas does not recognize the State of Israel, and by its Covenant, was committed to the destruction of Israel by Jihad. However it now states that it will accept a ceasefire with Israel if Israel ends its blockade. Iran supplies political and spiritual support to Hamas, similar to what Tehran presents to the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Aid to Hamas increased after Arafat’s death in 2004 and Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Following the Hamas victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections, foreign aid dried up, leading Tehran to send significant financial aid to support the nearly bankrupt, Hamas.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80295685

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