Mashaal: Hamas after Mecca is same Hamas
Exiled Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal arrives in Tehran to brief leadership on Mecca agreement. Says Hamas despite deal with Fatah has not changed, still won't recognize Israel. Ahmadinejad calls for cessation of internal PA violence, urges continued attacks against Israel
"Hamas after the Mecca agreement is the same Hamas as before," exiled Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Manuchehr Mottaki during his visit to Tehran on Tuesday.
When asked during a joint press conference with Mottaki if Hamas would ultimately recognize Israel, Mashaal answered: "Hamas' position is clear. Hamas remains true to its principles - it is the same organization it was before the deal in Mecca."
Mashaal stated that his visit in Iran came as part of an official series of meetings in Arab and Islamic nations to brief "our friends and brothers" about the details of the Mecca deal and the steps that need to be taken in the future. Mottaki emphasized that "Iran supports this initiative and any step that will bring unity to the Palestinian people."
Ahmadinejad told Mashaal to continue carrying out acts of "resistance" against Israel and also to stop internal Palestinian violence.
"Hamas and the Palestinian Authority must end their confrontation," said Ahmadinejad, "from now on the Palestinian factions must be united in resistance and belief in God. They must prepare the ground for the removal of the Zionists from the holy land of Palestine until not a single piece is occupied."
Ahmadinejad's office issued a statement saying that the Zionist regime is in its worse condition and is on its way to its downfall. The Iranian news agency reported that Ahmadinejad told Mashaal that Islamic nations can help the Palestinian government play a significant role in the "foiling of plots by the enemies of Islam."
Meanwhile Mottaki denied reports that Iran has temporarily slowed down its nuclear efforts. He said that uranium enrichment activities were continuing around the clock. The reports came after IAEA director-general Mohamed El-Baradei stated on Monday that Iran seems to have, for now, slowed its enrichment activities.
News agencies contributed to this report