Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that his country had “paid a heavy price” for supporting the Palestinian cause.
Rouhani was speaking on the sidelines of an international conference in Tehran on the Palestinian issue, a day after Iran’s supreme leader called for a fresh uprising against Israel, terming the Jewish state a “cancerous tumor.”
“The Iranian nation has paid a heavy price for supporting the Palestinian nation and opposition to the Zionist regime’s actions but it will continue its support with resolve and determination,” Rouhani told Palestinian National Council chairman Salim Zanoun, according to Iranian state-run media.
He also said other Muslim countries should also be willing to fight Israel no matter the cost, Iran’s Fars News reported.
Some 700 people from 80 delegations, mainly from Islamic countries as well as pro-Palestinian activists, are attending the two-day 6th International Conference on Palestinian Intifada, including ultra-Orthodox Jews from the anti-Zionist Naturei Karta sect.
Every four years since the early 1990s, Tehran has hosted a similar conference in support of the Palestinian cause, assembling foreign guests and those who oppose Israel.
The venue was decorated with a large map of Israel and the Palestinian territories covered in the colors of the Palestinian flag.
Among the guests taking part in the conference were the parliament speakers of Algeria, Mali, North Korea, Lebanon and Syria, and the leader of the hardline Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist organization, Ramadan Shalah.
The speaker of the Syrian parliament, Hadiya Khalaf Abbas, claimed that one of the reasons Syria has been targeted by the Western world is because of its “principled stance in the defense of the Palestinian people and in support of the resistance front,” according to Syrian Sana news agency.
Ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, Iran has been implacable in its opposition to Israel and has provided extensive support to Palestinian terrorist groups. It expressed strong backing for the two Palestinian intifadas of 1987-1993 and 2000-2005.
Speaking at Tuesday’s opening session of the conference, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei hailed the “resistance” against the “cruel occupation,” which he described as the worst case of oppression against one particular people recorded in history. He also accused Israel’s founders of being responsible for the current upheaval in the wider Middle East.
A wave of terrorism some called a third intifada, which began last year and manifested itself mainly in stabbings and vehicular attacks against Israelis troops and civilians, is “moving forward in a bright and hopeful manner,” the ayatollah declared. “And by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime.”
“From the beginning, this cancerous tumor has been developing in several phases until it turned into the current disaster,” he went on. “The cure for this tumor should be developed in phases as well.”
Associated Press, AFP and Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.