Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged visiting Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Saturday not to bow to pressure to recognize Israel and to keep fighting the Jewish state, local media reported.
Haniyeh, on a four-day visit to one of the strongest backers of his Hamas government, thanked Iran for its support and vowed not to cede to Western demands that it renounce violence, recognize existing interim peace accords and recognize the Jewish state.
"The Iranian nation will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Palestinian people until Jerusalem is liberated ... And will never fall short in any kind of support," Ahmadinejad told Haniyeh in Tehran, the semi-official ISNA students news agency reported.
Iran's support for the Palestinians has grown more vocal since Ahmadinejad came to power in August 2005. The former Revolutionary Guardsman has called the Israeli state a "tumor" which must be "wiped off the map".
Iran, like Hamas, refuses to recognize the state of Israel and has sent $120 million so far this year to the Palestinian Authority. The United States and Israel accuse Iran of additionally arming and training militant Palestinian groups such as Hamas. Iran denies the charge.
"In addition to not recognizing the occupying regime, the popular government of Palestine should ... support the resistance of the Palestinian nation until the Palestinian ideal is realised," Ahmadinejad said.
"America as the main supporter of this fake regime (Israel) is deteriorating and becoming weak and the conspiracies of the enemies of Islam to break the resistance of the Palestinian nation will fail," he added.
Haniyeh, who is due to meet Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday, said his government had no intention of "recognizing the Jerusalem-occupying regime" and would back the Palestinian people's right to "resistance and to cancel the cruel and unfair (peace) agreements with that fake regime".
"The brave position of the Iranian president in giving reasonable and transparent support to the ideal of a Palestinian nation has brought honour and dignity to Muslims and warmed the hearts of the Palestinian warriors," he said, ISNA reported.
Hainyeh addressed the issue of Palestinian infighting and said that "unity and resistance are the only ways to liberate Palestine. The Palestinian resistance against the crimes of the Zionist regime is a historical struggle against evil and against human rights violations."
Iran Palestinians' 'strategic depth'
Haniyeh spoke Friday in front of hundreds of worshippers at Tehran University, regarding US requests that the Hamas-led Palestinian government recognize Israel, renounce violence and form a national unity government with the moderate Fatah party in a bid to revive the peace process with Israel.
"The world arrogance (US) and Zionists... want us to recognize the usurpation of the Palestinian lands and stop jihad and resistance and accept the agreements reached with the Zionist enemies in the past," he said.
"I'm insisting from this podium that these issues won't materialize. We will never recognize the usurper Zionist government and will continue our jihad-like movement until the liberation of Jerusalem," he added.
Haniyeh called Iran , a longtime ally of Hamas, the Palestinians' "strategic depth" because they were together in their fight against Israel.
"They (Israelis) assume the Palestinian nation is alone. This is an illusion. ... We have a strategic depth in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This country (Iran) is our powerful, dynamic and stable depth," he said.
Reuters contributed to this article