TEL AVIV – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday said that since “the Zionist regime has never been after peace,” the Palestinians have no option left but to wage “jihad” against Tel Aviv, the semi-official state news agency Fars reported.
According to the report, Rouhani made his remarks during a meeting in Tehran with Ramadan Abdullah Mohammad Shallah, the leader of the Iranian-backed terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
Rouhani said Palestinians should engage in armed “resistance” against the “usurper regime.”
Rouhani accused Israel of fueling “terrorists’ operations” in the region, including propagating sectarian conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and North Africa as a diversionary tactic to make them “forget the Palestinian issue.”
Shallah in turn thanked Rouhani for Iran’s support and said that without it the Palestinians would not be able to “maintain their position.”
The Gaza-based PIJ was formed as an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and is also said to be be receiving financial backing from Syria. The U.S. named Shallah as a “Specially Designated Terrorist” and registered him on the FBI’s “most-wanted” list for planning bomb attacks and murders.
Rouhani’s comments come two days after Iranian Defense Minister Hussein Dehghan warned that President-elect Donald Trump could trigger a world war that will “destroy” Israel and small Gulf Arab states if he pulls out of the nuclear deal.
“Such a war would mean the destruction of the Zionist regime [Israel] … and will engulf the whole region and could lead to a world war,” Dehghan said.
Senior Iranian officials threatened “retaliation” against “U.S. violations” of the nuclear deal after the Senate voted to extend sanctions on the Islamic Republic for an additional ten years.