Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday met with the Secretary General of the Gaza Strip-based Islamic Jihad terrorist group in Tehran to reaffirm Iran’s support for the Palestinian cause.
Iran’s top diplomat told Ziad al-Nakhala that support for Palestine is a fundamental value directing the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy, according to a report from Iranian Press TV.
Iran has repeatedly condemned the United States’ support for Israel and called for Jerusalem in its entirety to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
“God willing, Palestine will be liberated from the grip of enemies and America and its stooges will not be able to do a damn thing vis-a-vis truth and the divine tradition,” Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in May, following the US embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Last week, Zarif met with a senior members of Hamas, the Islamist group governing Gaza, to reiterate Tehran’s support for the Palestinian “struggle” and encourage the Muslim world to continue to defend the people of Gaza.
“We hope that some Muslim countries that have pinned their hopes on the support of the Zionists and the US will return to the Muslim world and realize that the Zionists are not a trustworthy friend or partner for anybody,” Zarif said.
Syria-based al-Nakhala became Islamic Jihad’s leader in September. Nakhala, who was born in Gaza in 1953, is close to both Iran and Lebanese Islamists Hezbollah.
Islamic Jihad is heavily backed by Iran, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said is a “corrupt regime” spreading violence throughout the Middle East.
Alongside its Gaza ally Hamas, Islamic Jihad has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.
It is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, and the US labeled Nakhala himself a “global terrorist” in 2014.
The group opposes the peace agreements signed between Israel and the internationally recognized Palestinian leadership.