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Raisi hosts Palestinian terror chiefs, vows to keep cause at top of agenda

In meetings with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP leaders during first full day in office, new Iranian president praises their ‘victory’ over Israel in May’s Gaza conflict

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) greets new Iran President Ebrahim Raisi at the latter's office on August 6, 2021. (Screen capture/YouTube)
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (L) greets new Iran President Ebrahim Raisi at the latter's office on August 6, 2021. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Newly inaugurated Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with the leaders of several Palestinian terror groups during his first full day in office on Friday, using the opportunity to pledge allegiance to the cause of Palestine.

“Palestine has been and always will be the number one issue of the Muslim world,” Raisi told Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, according to the official Iranian state Fars news site. “We’ve never had and will never have any doubt about this policy.”

In a separate meeting with Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziad Nakhaleh, Raisi said the Islamic Republic would “always defend the rights of oppressed people.”

He also voiced the same message during a sit-down with Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Talal Naji, Fars reported.

All three terror group leaders were in Iran to attend Raisi’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday. While the event was scaled back due to coronavirus concerns, key Iranian allies managed to make the trip. Among them was also Naim Qassem, second in command of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy.

Raisi used the Friday meetings to praise the Palestinian armed groups for their performances during the recent Gaza war against Israel, which the Iranian president characterized as a “victory.”

President Ebrahim Raisi, center, waves to journalists as he is surrounded by group of lawmakers after taking his oath as president at the parliament in Tehran, Iran, on Thursday, August 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The two sides agreed to a ceasefire after 11 days of fighting, during which 15 people were killed in Israel and over 250 were killed in Gaza, the IDF says that half of those were terror operatives.

“Signs of the resistance’s great victory have emerged and Operation Sword of Jerusalem was one of those signs,” Raisi said, using Hamas’s title for the war, which was dubbed by the IDF Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Haniyeh assured Raisi that Hamas would continue standing by Iran, in the face of opposition from the West.

Raisi was elected in a landslide June election marked by low turnout as Iranians protested the disqualifications of nearly all other candidates by the country’s Islamist leadership.

His inauguration completes hardliners’ dominance of all branches of government in the Islamic Republic.

The Palestinians were mentioned in Raisi’s inauguration speech as well. “Wherever there is oppression and crime in the world, in the heart of Europe, in the US, Africa, Yemen, Syria, Palestine…,” he said, “the message of the election was resistance against arrogant powers.”

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