TEL AVIV – An Iranian official lauded Hamas for vowing to continue its efforts toward the destruction of Israel during a meeting between officials of the Islamic Republic and the terror group in Tehran on Sunday.
“We congratulate you for declaring that you will not set your weapons aside and for describing it as your red line,” said Ali Akbar Velayati, international affairs adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to the regime-affiliated Fars news agency.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Admiral Ali Shamkhani on Saturday also expressed hope that Hamas would continue to be a “central pioneer of the Palestinian resistance,” Iran’s Press TV reported.
Shamkhani also condemned the U.S. and Israel for demanding that Hamas both recognize Israel and disarm before a Palestinian unity government can receive legitimacy.
“The U.S. and the Zionist regime feel threatened by any balance shift in the Middle East in favor of regional people and governments engaged in the fight against terrorism,” Shamkhani said. “They seek to obstruct the path of the anti-terrorism fight by bringing up unfounded pretexts such as blocking Iran’s regional sway.”
Hamas deputy chief Salah Arouri, who led the delegation, said that Palestinian officials in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were hoping to broaden ties with Tehran.
Arouri rejected three preconditions outlined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for dealing with any Palestinian unity government that the terror group will be part of — namely, that Hamas disarm, recognize Israel and cut all relations with Iran. The first two conditions were reiterated by the U.S.
Regarding recognizing Israel, Arouri said on Saturday, “We’re not in the stage of recognition; rather we are now in the stage of preparing to eliminate the Zionist entity.” As for cutting ties with Iran, he said, “Our visit to Tehran is our practical rejection to the Israeli demand to cut ties with it.”
Two days earlier, Hamas’ Gaza-based Prime Minister Yahya Sinwar said, “No one in the universe can disarm us. On the contrary, we will continue to have the power to protect our citizens.”
“Over is the time Hamas spent discussing recognizing Israel. Now Hamas will discuss when we will wipe out Israel,” Sinwar added, according to the Hamas-linked news agency Shehab.
The Hamas delegation also met with the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani.
“The enemies are seeking to abolish you, to portray you as an ineffectual movement in the eyes of your people. It behooves you not to allow them to succeed in their divisive endeavors,” Larijani warned the Hamas delegation.
“What matters is that the Palestinian factions put their differences aside and unite against the Zionist entity,” he added.
International affairs adviser Velayati pledged that the Islamic Republic would lend more support to Palestinian terror groups.
“We want to prove to the Zionist entity that strategic relations between Iran and the Palestinian resistance, represented by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will not ever be served. Rather, Iran’s support for the resistance will increase day by day,” he said.
“We are confident that Hamas is faithful to the rights of the Palestinian people, and therefore cannot give up on the Palestinian fundamental principles, the resistance and its weapons,” he added.