update deskMiddle East

Iran reaffirms support for Palestinian terror

Tehran's efforts to lift sanctions on the Islamic Republic will also continue, a spokesperson for it foreign ministry said.

An Iranian flag over a missile, April 2022. Credit: Mohasseyn/Shutterstock.
An Iranian flag over a missile, April 2022. Credit: Mohasseyn/Shutterstock.

The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will not affect Tehran’s backing for Palestinian terrorist groups or its approach to nuclear talks with the United States, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Despite Raisi’s death in a May 19 helicopter crash, Tehran’s support for “the oppressed people of Palestine and resistance groups [pursuing] the unalienable rights of the Palestinians to the liberation of their land and standing against the usurping Zionist regime” will carry on as usual, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani told reporters.

Kanaani also said that the efforts hitherto pursued by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who also died in the crash, to lift sanctions on the Islamic Republic would continue.

“There has been no change in the approach or the structure of our indirect talks [with the U.S.] within the framework of negotiations to remove unfair sanctions. We will continue diplomatic efforts within the same framework and with the same approach,” the spokesman stressed.

Iranian-backed terrorists whose groups are waging war against Israel gathered in Tehran on May 22 to discuss “the continuation of jihad.” The leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other U.S.-designated terrorist organizations were in town for Raisi’s funeral.

The meeting focused on “jihad and struggle until the complete victory of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza with the participation of all resistance groups and fronts in the region,” Iranian state media reported.

As many as 500 terrorists affiliated with the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad trained in Iran leading up to the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel. Iranian-sponsored exercises took place in September, at which time terrorists received specialized combat training, The Wall Street Journal reported last year.

Following the deaths of Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian, the United States joined a minute of silence in their memory at the U.N. Security Council.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller also conveyed the Biden administration’s “official condolences for the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian, and other members of their delegation in a helicopter crash in northwest Iran.”

Washington is frustrating European efforts to introduce a resolution against the Iranian regime at the International Atomic Energy Agency, Reuters reported over the weekend.

A senior European diplomat claimed that the U.S. is having “difficulty” moving ahead with the resolution ahead of the 35-nation Board of Governors’ quarterly meeting that starts in Vienna on June 3. The diplomat added that “in our conversations we continue to do everything to convince them.”

The last Iran-centered resolution at the IAEA, passed 18 months ago, called on Tehran to cooperate with an investigation by the watchdog involving three of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear sites.

In February, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi accused Tehran of being less than forthright regarding its atomic program, saying the regime was “presenting a face which is not entirely transparent when it comes to its nuclear activities” and noting that “of course, this increases dangers.”

There have been pointed threats of a push towards nuclear weapons. This month, an adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Tehran will weaponize its nuclear program if Israel “threatens its existence.”

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