Iran will support Palestinian armed groups as much as it can, Iran’s Supreme Leader said, urging Palestinians to confront a US plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
“We believe Palestinian armed organisations will stand and continue resistance and the Islamic Republic sees supporting Palestinian groups as its duty,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech.
“It will support them however it can and as much as it can and this support is the desire of the Islamic system and the Iranian nation.”
President Donald Trump announced a US plan last month which would set up a Palestinian state with strict conditions and allow Israel to take over long-contested Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian leaders reject it as biased toward Israel.
Trump’s plan is to the detriment of America and Palestinians should confront the deal by forcing Israelis and Americans out through jihad, Khamenei said, according to his official website.
Tensions spiked between Iran and the US after top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3, prompting the Islamic Republic to retaliate with a missile attack against a US base in Iraq days later.
Khamenei jabbed at Arab leaders who support the Trump plan.
“The welcoming and clapping from a few traitorous Arab leaders who are worthless and dishonourable among their own people has no importance,” Khamenei said.
Separately, Khamenei called for a high turnout in parliamentary elections on February 21, broadly seen as a gauge of support for authorities after all-out war with the US almost broke out last month.
“It’s possible someone doesn’t like me but if they like Iran they must come to the ballot box,” Khamenei said, noting the elections could solve Iran’s international problems.
Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani lashed out at hardliners over mass disqualification of election candidates.
Iran’s economy has been battered after Trump pulled out of a multilateral nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions to bring Iran to the negotiating table for curbs on its ballistic missile programme and cut support for regional proxies.
America’s attempt to pressure Iran to negotiate through sanctions will not work, Rouhani said in a speech on state TV.
“They thought we would request negotiations from America. Negotiations by their definition, not our definition,” Rouhani said. “They want us to surrender through cruel, unequal and undignified negotiations. This is impossible for the Iranian people.”