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Mottaki in Damascus Photo: AFP
Mottaki in Damascus Photo: AFP
 
Khaled Mashaal Photo: AP
Khaled Mashaal Photo: AP
 
 

Iran: Israel striking in Gaza because of Winograd report

Iranian foreign minister meets with Hamas politburo chief in Damascus, says interim war probe report 'caused the Israeli government to attack in the Gaza Strip in order to rehabilitate itself'

Dudi Cohen
Published: 06.01.07, 16:53 / Israel News

Israel is striking in the Gaza Strip following its failure in the Second Lebanon War and the Winograd Commission's report, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Friday during a series of meetings with representatives of the Palestinian factions in Damascus.

 

Mottaki met with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal and noted that the internal situation in Israel after the Second Lebanon War was difficult.

 

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According to him, the war probe interim report "caused the Israeli government to strike in the Gaza Strip in order to rehabilitate itself and hide its international problems.

 

Mottaki added that Hamas should make internal unity its top priority and prevent internal clashes between the Palestinian factions.

 

According to the Iranian minister, "Resistance and alert are two important principles Hamas should adopt in order to overcome the current situation and reach the goals of the Palestinian people.

 

Mashaal briefed Mottaki on the situation in the Palestinian territories and said that "Hamas wIll continue practicing resistance."

 

The Iranian foreign minister also met with Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Sallah. Mottaki said during the meeting that Israel was under harsh internal pressure following the Second Lebanon War.

 

Sallah said that "Israel has reached a dead end in all aspects and therefore resistance is still favored by the Islamic Jihad."

 

According to the Iranian news agency Mehr, Mottaki also met with the political advisor of Hizbullah's secretary-general, Haj Hussien Halil, and with Ali Halil, a senior member of the Amal movement.

 

Mottaki told them the "the policy of the United States and Israel in Lebanon is to escalate the tension and military clashes in Lebanon in order for the political crisis in the country to continue."

 

Iran, Syria to build buses together

On Thursday, Mottaki arrived in Damascus for a two-day visit and met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and his deputy Farouk al-Sharaa.

 

The Iranian news agency Irna reported that Mottaki accused Israel and the United States of escalating tensions inside Lebanon in order to prevent the different factions in the country from reaching unity.

 

Mottaki and Assad discussed the expansion of the economic cooperation between Iran and Syria, including building buses and trucks together. The parties also agreed to build power plants together, cooperate on water projects and establish a joint bank.

 

A senior Syrian official told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper that the talks held by the Iranian foreign minister in Damascus dealt with four main issues: The ties between the two countries, the situation in the Palestinian territories, the situation in Lebanon and the decision to establish an international tribunal to probe the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and a possible political solution in Iraq. 

 

The source condemned the UN Security Council's decision to establish an international tribunal into the Hariri assassination, saying that "this decision matched the United States' diplomatic plan for the Middle East.

 

"The Syrian-Iranian talks dealt with the importance of withstanding the (American) pressures and plans to dominate the region," the source added.

 

Mottaki also met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem. A spokesman for the Syrian president said that the two officials discussed the bilateral relations and the situation in the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon.

 

"The two agreed that it was important to reach security and stability in the region and stressed the importance of continuing the coordination and cooperation between the two friendly states," the spokesman added.

  

Roee Nahmias contributed to the report

 

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