Iran Blasts Israeli ‘Crimes’, Prepares Talks with Palestinian Opposition
Iran on Monday deplored a lack of Muslim cooperation over the Middle East crisis as Tehran's deputy foreign minister prepared to meet with Palestinian opposition groups in Syria.
"Sadly, the Islamic world has not had a broadly coordinated response in the face of the crimes of the Zionist regime," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said, cited by the state IRNA news agency.
"It is the duty of Islamic nations to help the uprising," Kharrazi said after meeting with seven Palestinians wounded in the recent violence who are in Tehran for medical care.
Kharazi also blasted what he called Western "silence" in the wake of the violence, which continued Monday as Israeli forces pounded Rafah in the Gaza Strip while the death toll of four weeks of bloodshed topped 150.
"We don't expect the Palestinian question to be settled anytime soon, especially while Israel is heavily armed and backed by the major powers," he said.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed Sadr was meanwhile due to travel to Damascus late Monday to hold talks with Palestinian groups opposed to leader Yasser Arafat and his dialogue with Israel.
Sadr is due to meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara during his three-day visit and also deliver a message from Iranian President Mohammed Khatami to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, IRNA reported.
He is then to travel to Beirut on Thursday for talks with Lebanese officials, it said without giving further details.
Kharazi traveled to Syria two weeks ago and Iran has repeatedly expressed its full backing for the Palestinian uprising or Intifada. Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called on Muslim nations to pave the way for a jihad, or holy war, against Israel.
Islamic Iran does not recognize the Jewish state, is opposed to the peace process and has demanded that all Palestinians have the right to return to their homeland.
Iran has been forging closer ties with the militant Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, three of whose leaders were recently welcomed to the Iranian capital.
As acting president of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Iran has also been pushing for a special meeting of the 56-nation group's foreign ministers to address the crisis – TEHRAN (AFP)
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