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July 22, 2019 1:28 pm

Hamas Official Tells Iranian Leader Group Is Tehran Regime’s ‘First Line of Defense’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech in Tehran, Feb. 18, 2019. Photo: Khamenei.ir / Handout via Reuters.

A top Hamas official met on Sunday with Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and told him that his group was the Tehran regime’s “first line of defense.”

According to Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri met with Khamenei in Tehran and presented him with a letter from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

“Any aggression against Iran is aggression against Palestine and against the resistance,” al-Arouri said.

Khamenei said, “The Palestinian issue is the most important in the Muslim world, and the victory in it will not be achieved without resistance and struggle.”

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“Hamas is in the heart of Palestine, just as Palestine is in the heart of the Muslim world,” he added.

Khamenei also praised Hamas’ military abilities, saying, “Not many years ago, Palestinians were fighting with stones, but today they are fighting with precision missiles.”

In addition, Khamenei struck out at Iran’s Sunni Arab rivals, stating, “The distancing from the Palestinian issue by countries close to the United States, like Saudi Arabia, is foolish, and if they supported the Palestinians, they would have won a few privileges.”

He also appeared to attempt to link the Palestinian cause to the current resistance to Iran, saying, “The main reason for the hostility against Iran is our support for the Palestinians — but this hostility and the pressures exerted on us will not cause Iran to give it up.”

He also bashed the Trump administration’s long-gestating Middle East peace plan, stating, “The ‘deal of the century’ is a plot aimed at eliminating Palestinian identity.”

According to The Tehran Times, al-Arouri also met with Kamal Kharrazi, chairman of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations and a former foreign minister.

“Policies of the enemies of Islam and Palestine in supporting occupant Israel are obvious,” said Kharrazi. “The Palestinians are aware of these policies and have come to the conclusion that they should stand against the foreigners’ plots.”

He noted that Iran had supported the Palestinians since the Islamist regime was established in 1979.

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