Iran’s FM phones Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and condemns US peace plan
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Iran’s FM phones Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and condemns US peace plan

Zarif previously spoke with PA President Abbas; reportedly called the newly unveiled American initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ‘inhumane’

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

In this photo taken on April 24, 2018, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the 72nd High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace at United Nations Headquarters in New York. (HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP)
In this photo taken on April 24, 2018, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the 72nd High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace at United Nations Headquarters in New York. (HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh and Islamic Jihad secretary-general Ziad al-Nakhaleh on Wednesday and condemned the US plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported.

The Iranian top diplomat called the plan “inhumane” in his conversation with Haniyeh, and described it as “deceptive” in his discussion with Nakhaleh, IRNA reported.

Zarif’s calls to the leaders of the Palestinian terror groups comes a day after he held a rare phone conversation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

He told Abbas that Iran rejected the US plan, the official PA news site Wafa reported on Tuesday.

Breaking with past US administrations, the plan envisions the creation of a Palestinian state in about 70 percent of the West Bank, a small handful of neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, most of the Gaza Strip and some areas of southern Israel — if the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, disarm Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, and fulfill other conditions.

The plan also allows Israel to annex settlements, grants the Jewish state sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and overriding security control west of the Jordan River, and bars Palestinian refugees from settling in Israel.

Abbas, Haniyeh and Nakhaleh have all blasted the initiative, while Jared Kushner, senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, has stated that it represents “the best opportunity the Palestinians have ever had” and said that he hopes “they seize it.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he supports the plan.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad consider Iran to be an important ally, whereas the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership is believed to seldom engage with Iranian officials.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh speaks during a meeting with foreign reporters in Gaza City on June 20, 2019 (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

Zarif also told Haniyeh that Iran supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the IRNA report also said.

Abbas Mousavi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, denied on Wednesday that Zarif had told Abbas that he backs the creation of a Palestinian state with “East Jerusalem” as its capital.

Mousavi wrote on Twitter that the minister did not refer to “East Jerusalem” but rather “noble Jerusalem.”

Wafa had reported on Tuesday that Zarif told Abbas he backs the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Iranian military officials have often used aggressive language when referring to Israel and have threatened to wipe it off the world’s map.

Ziad Nakhala of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Screen capture: YouTube)

Iran is believed to provide significant support to the military wings of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad in terms of weapons and training.

Haniyeh expressed his appreciation to Zarif for Iran’s “supportive position of the Palestinian cause,” according to the Hamas website.

Nakhaleh also thanked the Iranian FM for Tehran’s “supportive position of the Palestinian people,” the Islamic Jihad-affiliated Palestine Today reported.

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