Iran says Israel using nuclear issue to hide 'crimes'
Iranian FM accuses Israel of hidden agenda in concern over Iran's nuclear program: 'Under pretext of Iran's peaceful nuclear energy (program), Zionists have always tried to distract governments, nations' public opinion from own crimes in Palestine'
Israel, along with Western countries, has long accused Iran of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian program – charges denied by Tehran – and the Jewish state criticized a landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers in November.
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"Under the pretext of Iran's peaceful nuclear energy (program), the Zionists have always tried to distract governments and nations' public opinion from their own crimes in Palestine," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a statement.
He made the remarks during a rare visit to Iran by Jibril Rajub, a senior official in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which is currently engaged in US-brokered peace talks with Israel.
Rajub, a senior member of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah movement, said the group "will not stop the resistance until the establishment of an independent Palestinian government" in east Jerusalem, occupied and annexed by Israel.
The agreement reached with world powers requires Iran to curb or halt its nuclear activities for six months in return for sanctions relief, and is aimed at buying time for the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement to resolve the decade-long dispute.
Israel, the region's sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state, views Iran's atomic program as its greatest threat and, like the United States, has not ruled out military action to halt or slow Iran's nuclear drive.