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Author Topic:   Iran opens "largest" conference on Palestinian Intifada
Vatandoost
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posted April 25, 2001 09:15     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By a Special Correspondent in the Iranian Capital

TEHRAN 24 Apr. (IPS) As the tension between Israel and the Palestinian escalates to new, dangerous heights, Iran is to host as from tomorrow 24 April a two days conference aimed at supporting the Palestinian struggle and extremists opposed to the US-brokered Peace Process.

The Tehran conference is the greatest conference ever held on the issue of Palestine, he said adding that the conference may determine the political equations of the region and the entire world in line with providing the tramped rights of the Palestinian nation, according to Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, the Secretary of the Conference.

Entitled "The International Conference of Support for the Intifada and the Islamic Revolution in Palestine," the two-day gathering is sponsored by the Iranian Majles, or parliament and organised by Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, the present leader of the Second Khordad Coalition fraction at the Majles.

120 worldwide NGOs gathered in the Iranian Capital Monday to discuss "human rights of the Palestinians", the organisers said.

The NGOs conference aims to render support for human rights of Palestinian people and children. It will exert pressure on international organisations to condemn the "Zionist" (Israel) regime as well as the racism and terrorism being exercised against the Palestinian nation.

Opening the NGO's meeting, Speaker of the Majles Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karoubi criticised international human rights and other organisations for their "indifference and double standard policies" towards the plight of the Palestinian people.

Observing that the Tehran Conference on supporting the Palestinians is sponsored by the Iranian parliament, some Iranian political analysts said it points to a "more moderate and pragmatic approach" in Iranian policy towards the peace process and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Though the organisers said some 35 Arab and Islamic nations, as well as all Palestinian opposition groups, the Iranian backed Lebanese Hezbollah and some personalities from the Western world are expected to take part in the meeting, but journalists and observers in Tehran said no Muslim nation has send any official envoy to the meeting.

Talking to IRNA, the official Iranian news agency, Mr. Mohtashamipour called on all Muslim nations to resist against aggression by big powers, particularly by their illegitimate representative, that is the Zionist regime, in the region.

Stressing that the "aggressive nature" of the "Zionist" regime is not limited to the Palestinian nation today, Mr. Mohtashamipour said the Lebanese territory and the Syrian bases are also attacked by the Israeli forces".

He expressed hope that the Tehran confab will be successful in taking practical steps towards settlement of the Palestinian problems.

Over the past few months Iran has put forward its own peace plan, which calls for all Palestinian refugees and their families to be given the right to return to what was Palestine before the creation of Israel in 1948, and a referendum on the future of Palestine in which all those who lived on the land before Israel was founded, Christians, Jews and Muslims, would have a vote.

The conference is expected to endorse the Iranian initiatives.

A former Interior Minister and Ambassador to Syria, Mr. Mohtashamipour is also known as the "Godfather" of the Iranian-backed, financed and supported Lebanese Hezbollah because of the role he played in the formation of Organisation when he was in Damascus.

The Hezbollah became widely popular with the Arab and Palestinian extremists opposed to peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after it succeeded in kicking the Israeli forces out of South Lebanon, where the Tsahal had created a security zone.

Iranian and Israeli military experts agree that the unilateral Israel withdrawal from the security zone under the former cabinet of General Ehud Barak, -- "a big mistake", say some Israelis -- served as a "model" for the new intifada, that is also supported by Tehran.

A 24 men strong Palestinian delegation led by Palestine National Council Speaker Salim al Za'noun will attend the meeting, bringing with himself a verbal message from Yaser Arafat to Iranian President calling for more collaboration between Iran and the PA on facing the Zionist aggression, IRNA reported.

But the Palestinian opposition is also expected to be out in force, including the Iranian-created Islamic Jihad and the more popular and stronger HAMAS, with which Tehran has expanded its relations in recent years.

Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah, secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah was in Tehran days before the start of the conference, discussing with top Iranian officials, including Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, more effective ways co-ordinating operations between Hezbollah and Palestinian organisations opposed to peace process.

Iranian political parties and university students from the Office to Consolidate Unity (OCU), the Islamic Association of the Students and the Supreme Leader's Representative Office at the Universities will take part in the one-day conference.

Iraqi Parliament President Sa'dun Hammadi has also been invited, but decided to boycott the Tehran meeting after the massive missile attack by Iranian forces over bases of the Iraqi-supported and financed Mujahedeen Khalq Organisation inside the Iraqi territory, from where shell Iranian positions.

Iran flew in some of the Palestinians wounded in clashes with Israeli troops for treatment.

Earlier Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority called on Arab states to take "tangible measures" in support of the Palestinian people and to do away with political subservience to the United States.

Top PA official IRNA identified as Amer told the agency that "Israel and the United States will not be scared by all the rhetorical statements coming out of Arab capitals" which he said "were essentially meant to appease domestic public opinions in these countries."

He said the PA hopes the Arab states will dispatch an Arab league delegation to the US and Europe to make clear to American and European officials that the Palestinian position is the same as the Arab position and that the continued American backing of Israeli aggression is unacceptable to the Arab world.

Talking privately to Iran Press Service, some Iranians criticised the government for spending such a "huge sum of money" on matters that are not of "Iranian people's priorities".

"Iranian leadership should pay more attention to the situation of their own people instead of investing so much of time, energy and financial resources on the Palestinian-Israeli complicated issue of which we are not a party", one Iranian scholar pointed out, asking his name not to be published.

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posted April 25, 2001 09:18     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Intifada a pride for Palestine and Muslim world -- Khatami

Tehran, April 24, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami here on Tuesday said the Palestinian Intifada is a pride for Palestine and the Muslim world.

In meeting with the Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah Seyed Hassan Nasrollah, President Khatami also said the resistance by the Hezbollah in Lebanon is a token of pride for the Arab and Islamic nations.

The president said the victories by the Lebanese Hezbollah are the result of sacrifices by the combatants and martyrs who bravely stood against the Zionists and added," If the Lebanese resistance did not exist, Intifada would not emerge and the popular uprising in Palestine would not spread."

President Khatami said the resistance in Lebanon and the Palestinian Intifada have changed the public opinion and added the awareness of the people of the world caused many countries to deplore the Israeli actions.

The president stressed the importance of unity among the combatant groups and said the most important current issue in Palestine is strengthening the Intifada.

President Khatami said the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on detente but struggle against the world arrogance and hegemonism is among the principles of the Islamic Republic and Tehran has never abandoned the struggle against Israel and support for the Hezbollah as an strategic principle in its foreign policy.

The president said none of the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran has any doubt in defending the Hezbollah and the resistance of the oppressed people of Palestine.

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah said Israel is a threat to the whole world Muslims and called for cooperation among all Islamic countries. "The Lebanese Islamic resistance will not spare any help to the Intifada of the oppressed people of Palestine," said Nasrollah.

He thanked President Khatami for the policies of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in support of the Lebanese resistance.

In separate meetings, President Khatami here on Tuesday received Vice Speaker of Lebanon Shi'a Supreme Assembly Abdolamir Qablan and the former Speaker of Lebanon National Assembly Hossein Al-Hosseini.

The Lebanese officials along with dozens of other dignitaries from Arab and Islamic countries are in Tehran to attend an international conference on Palestine. The conference is organized by Iran's Majlis and aims to explore ways of support for the Palestinian Intifada.

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posted April 25, 2001 09:20     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Khamenei calls for armed struggle against Israel

TEHRAN, April 24 (AFP) - Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Tuesday for armed uprising against Israel as officials from more than 30 nations gathered for a major conference to support the Palestinian cause. "The Israeli regime is rotting on the inside and the new generation of Israelis is no longer motivated to defend it," Khamenei said in a fiery speech calling on the international community to isolate the Jewish state politically and economically.

"First of all this regime must be isolated in the occupied territories, its political and economic lifelines severed, and then the armed resistance against Israel must be continued," he told the conference.

Khamenei, whose nation helped found the militant Hezbollah movement which pushed Israel out of south Lebanon after 22 years of occupation last May, said the Palestinians should follow the same example.

"This victorious resistance of south Lebanon must serve as a model for Palestinians," said Khamenei, who rejected negotiations with Israel as "begging for peace and compromise."

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah was due to address the conference later in the day.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami for his part urged the creation of an international tribunal "to try Israeli leaders like war criminals" and appealed for a boycott of Israel by Islamic nations.

Khatami also reiterated Iran's plan for Middle East peace, which calls for all Palestinian refugees and their families to be given the right to return to what was Palestine before the creation of Israel in 1948.

Tehran wants a referendum in which all those who lived on the land before Israel was founded -- Christians, Jews and Muslims -- would have a vote, as well as an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

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posted April 25, 2001 09:21     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hamas calls for more suicide attacks against Israel

TEHRAN, April 24 (AFP) - The political director of the militant Palestinian movement Hamas on Tuesday called for more suicide attacks against Israel as well as the immediate end of negotiations with the Jewish state. "Our people categorically reject any return to the negotiating table. We want suicide attacks and mortar attacks," Khaled Meshaal said on the first morning of a two-day international conference aimed at drumming up support for the Palestinian uprising against Israel.

He said Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority had in effect "punched a hole in a boat with the Palestinians on board."

The armed wing of Hamas on Monday claimed a suicide bomb attack in the Israeli town of Kfar Saba the day before that killed the bomber and an Israeli doctor and wounded dozens more.

Representatives from the Palestinian opposition as well as officials from more than 30 Arab and Islamic nations are on hand for the conference.

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posted April 25, 2001 09:23     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. says Iranian remarks are 'outrageous'

WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department condemned an Iranian leader's comments on the Holocaust and the creation of Israel as "outrageous and deplorable" on Tuesday. Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a pro-Palestinian conference on Tuesday that Zionists exaggerated the Holocaust to justify crimes against Palestinians.

"The purpose was to install in the heart of the Islamic world an anti-Islamic state under the guise of supporting the victims of racism and to create a rift between the east and the west of the Islamic world," Khamenei said.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said: "The outrageous and deplorable statements such as those ... do nothing to allay our concerns about Iran and its support for terrorism and opposition to Middle East peace."

Iran invited advocates of armed conflict with Israel to the conference in Tehran, including Hizbollah from Lebanon and the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Iranian support for such groups is a recurrent U.S. complaint against Tehran and the main reason for Iran's inclusion on a U.S. list of "state sponsors of terrorism."

Reeker said: "What we saw in Tehran and the pictures we've seen is no garden party."

The State Department will release its annual report on international "terrorism" next week, with no change expected in the status of Iran.

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posted April 25, 2001 09:25     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran's Khamenei says Zionists exaggerate Holocaust

TEHRAN, April 24 (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that Zionists had exaggerated the Holocaust to justify crimes against Palestinians. Iran does not recognise Israel and has repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state as the only solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

"There is evidence which shows that Zionists had close relations with German Nazis and exaggerated statistics on Jewish killings," Khamenei said in a speech opening a conference to support the seven-month-old Palestinian Intifada, or uprising.

At least 385 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 74 other Israelis have been killed during the uprising against Israeli occupation that began in late September.

Some six million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis during World War II, leading to a mass emigration of European Jews during and after the conflict and boosting efforts to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.

"There is even evidence on hand that a large number of non-Jewish hooligans and thugs of eastern Europe were forced to migrate to Palestine as Jews," Khamenei said.

"The purpose was to install in the heart of the Islamic world an anti-Islamic state under the guise of supporting the victims of racism and to create a rift between the east and the west of the Islamic world," he said.

Israeli attacks on Palestinians, Lebanon and Syria, clearly showed the "satanic intentions of Israel and her Western supporters," Khamenei said.

The heads of Lebanon's Hizbollah, Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as other armed rebels vehemently opposed to Israel attended the two-day Tehran conference.

"What we want is: one, a political decision that accepts the responsibility of the Palestinian resistance; two, financial support, and three, armed support," Hamas General-Secretary Khaled Mashal told the meeting.

Hamas claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Israel on Sunday that killed an Israeli doctor and said it had more militants ready to carry out further attacks.

The conference aims to "attract financial and spiritual support in defence of the Palestinians."

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said the fight was justified by the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

"Such a struggle for the restoration of the rights of the Palestinians is truly justified and certainly deserves all-out support and assistance," Khatami said.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and heads of Muslim states were notable by their absence from the meeting. Baghdad refused to send a delegation after accusing Iran of firing 56 Scud missiles at Iranian rebel camps in Iraq last week.

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Tehran rejects US accusations over terrorism support

TEHRAN, April 25 (AFP) - Iran's foreign ministry on Wednesday rejected US State Department accusations that Tehran is supporting international terrorism, the official IRNA news agency reported. Tehran "will continue its moral and humanitarian support of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon and of the Palestinians, and the agreement of the United States is not needed for that," ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said.

"Iran and Islamic nations agree on the need to support the legitimate struggle of those fighting for their rights, and the Islamic world hopes that all countries will support the struggle for liberation," he said. "On the other hand, Iran and the Islamic world condemn US support for the Israeli state's terrorism," he said, cited by IRNA.

The United States on Tuesday slammed comments by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Zionists collaborated with Nazis in exaggerating the Holocaust.

State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the remarks, combined with Iran's hosting of a conference on supporting the Palestinian uprising, were more evidence that Iran backed terrorism.

"The outrageous and deplorable statements such as those that we've heard .... do nothing to allay our concerns about Iran and its support for terrorism and opposition to Middle East peace," Reeker told reporters.

He said the State Department would next week release its annual report on worldwide terrorism and that Tehran's relations with groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, who are attending the conference, would be noted.

Khamenei told the conference Tuesday that Zionists worked with the Nazis to exaggerate the Holocaust in a bid to win sympathy for the creation of the Jewish state.

Palestinian groups as well as representatives from 34 Arab and Islamic nations are attending the two-day conference here aimed at drumming up worldwide support for the seven-month-old Palestinian uprising or intifada.

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posted April 26, 2001 11:19     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Conference in Iran calls for Israel's destruction

The Financial Times
By Guy Dinmore in Tehran

April 25 2001 01:41GMT

A pro-Palestinian conference hosted by Iran on Tuesday heard calls for the destruction of Israel and a warning by the leader of Lebanon's radical Hizbollah group that it could attack Israeli forces anywhere.

Iran said the two-day conference, attended by parliamentary delegations from 30 Islamic countries, had the goal of forging a strategic solidarity among all forces supporting the Palestinian uprising against occupying Israeli forces.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Shia Muslim Hizbollah, told delegates they faced "an exceptional historic opportunity to finish off the entire cancerous Zionist project".

He was explicit that Hizbollah would not cease its military operations, despite Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon last summer.

"We will not stand idly by. We will show the Zionists that the Palestinians are not alone in this battle. Watch out for us where you expect us and where you don't expect us; and from where you expect, and from where you don't expect," Sheikh Nasrallah said.

But he was less clear how or whether Hizbollah, supported by Iran, would co- operate with Iranian-backed, but Sunni Muslim, Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose senior officials also attended the conference.

Ramazan Abdullah, secretary-general of Islamic Jihad, was quoted on Tuesday in an Iranian newspaper as saying Hizbollah had not been active inside Palestine. But he was not clear whether it could play a future role. Ali Shakuri-Rad, an Iranian parliamentarian from the pro-reform majority, told reporters he did not expect Hizbollah to go beyond Lebanon's borders.

Iran gives financial, political and humanitarian support to the resistance groups but denies allegations by Israel and its allies that it supplies arms and training.

Iran's entire leadership attended the opening session of the conference. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supreme leader, repeated Iran's call for the "annihilation" of the "Zionist regime".

In talks with Sheikh Nasrallah last week, Ayatollah Khamenei urged Hizbollah "to take the initiative in fighting the Zionist regime", comments that implied he agreed with Hizbollah acting outside Lebanon.

Mohammad Khatami, Iran's president, called for a total economic boycott by Islamic countries of Israel, which he described as "the expression of Zionist pugnacity and beastliness". He expressed full support for the uprising, which has led to the deaths of nearly 400 Palestinians and more than 70 Israelis since September.

Diplomats said Israel would seize on the Tehran conference as evidence to justify its claims of an Iranian role behind the Palestinian uprising. It could also strengthen the hand of the Jewish lobby in Washington which wants to keep US sanctions against Iran, now under review.

Iraq stayed away from the meeting in protest at Iran's recent missile attacks against rebel groups based in Iraq, while Egypt, which has made peace with Israel and does not have full relations with Iran, sent only a low level delegation. The Israeli army last night sealed off Palestinian areas in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as border crossings linking the territories to Jordan and Egypt. The restrictions would remain in place until Friday, although passage would be allowed "in cases of humanitarian concern," an Israeli statement said.

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posted April 26, 2001 11:21     Click Here to See the Profile for Vatandoost   Click Here to Email Vatandoost     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Iran conference on Palestinians, an (other) Exercise in futility

By an IPS Correspondent in Tehran

Tehran 25 Apr. (IPS) Iran opened a two-days Conference Tuesday to support the new Palestinian Infifada and co-ordinate efforts by Arab and Muslim nations and organisations opposed to the Peace Process and at eliminating the Jewish State, but failed to propose any concrete solution to the plight of the Palestinians.

"So far, nothing new emerged from the first day of the Conference if not same old rhetoric, including that of Ayatollah Ali Khamenehe'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, who opened the meeting", analysts present at the Conference observed.

In his opening address, Mr. Khamenehe'i proposed a two-points "guideline" to answer Israeli "aggressions" against the Palestinians: "containing the usurper regime within its borders, blocking its economic and political breathing space and serving its linkages with its surrounding environment as well as continuation of resistance and struggle of Palestinian people within their own homeland while offering them all the needed assistance".

"Time has also shown that rosy promises given to Palestinian negotiators were nothing but mere illusions", the Iranian leader stressed, echoed by Mr. Salim al Zanoun, the Speaker of the Palestinian National Council (parliament) who described Israeli-Palestinian the Peace Process to a joke and the Oslo Agreements of 1993 an "illusion, a palace on moving sands".

"Not only the Peace Process has reached an impasse, but Israel has destroyed everything we had constructed in the past seven years", observed Mr. Za noun, who represents the Palestinian Authority Chairman Yaser Afaraft.

Using articles from revisionist authors, including the French philosopher Roger Garaudy, a former Communist turned Muslim, Mr. Khamenehe'I told the 300 audience that there are documents showing collaboration of the Zionists with the Nazi Germany.

He said that not only there are documents showing close collaboration of the Zionists with the Nazi Germany, but also the numbers relating to the Jewish Holocaust were "fabricated to solicit sympathy of the world public opinion, lay the ground for the occupation of Palestine and to justify the atrocities of the Zionists".

"There is even evidence on hand that a large number of non-Jewish hooligans and thugs of Eastern Europe were forced to migrate to Palestine as Jews. The purpose was to install in the heart of the Islamic world an anti-Islamic state under the guise of supporting the victims of racism and to create a rift between the East and the West of the Islamic world after 1400 years of unity between those two parts."

[The U.S. State Department immediately condemned Mr. Khameneh is remarks on the Holocaust and the creation of Israel as "outrageous and deplorable".

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said: "The outrageous and deplorable statements such as those ... do nothing to allay our concerns about Iran and its support for terrorism and opposition to Middle East peace."

Iran invited advocates of armed conflict with Israel to the conference in Tehran, including Hizbollah from Lebanon and the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Iranian support for such groups is a recurrent U.S. complaint against Tehran and the main reason for Iran's inclusion on a U.S. list of "state sponsors of terrorism."

The State Department will release its annual report on international "terrorism" next week, with no change expected in the status of Iran.

Reeker said: "What we saw in Tehran and the pictures we've seen is no garden party. Next week we'll release our annual "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report, which I'm sure will highlight a number of the organisations that have been there."

But Mr. Khamenehe i did not mentioned the many wars between Arab and Muslim states against each other, the last one being the devastating Iran-Iraq conflict that killed and wounded more than three millions Muslims on both sides.

"The so-called peace process and the Oslo scheme placed the Palestinians in a situation that made them realise there is no other way but an all-out popular uprising", Mr. Khamenehe'i said, adding: "I assure you that the Israeli regime is decayed from within and the present generation is by no means prepared to make any sacrifice for its preservation. With the grace of Allah, Arab and Muslim nations are today stronger than any other time in the past 50 years."

However, the harshest words against Israel came not from him, but the embattled President Mohammad Khatami, who described the Jewish State" as a "parasite" in the heart of the Muslim word and founded on the "fallacious concepts of superiority, transgressing human rights".

"These concepts have not only given rise to a state that recognises no bounds in the practice of violence and brutality against other people but also totally trespassed all human rights" Hojjatoleslam Khatami said.

He strongly condemned Israel s "contempt" for Palestinian human rights while the United Nations Commission on Human rights faulted his government few days earlier for gross violations of such rights as well as crushing discriminations against women, dissidents and minorities in Iran.

The Iranian President Khatami reiterated earlier proposals for the return of all Palestinian refugees to their homeland and holding a multi-faith referendum on the future of Palestine, and independent Palestinian State with the holy al-Qods (Jerusalem) as its capital.

He also proposed the formation of a U.N. war crimes tribunal in Palestine and called on Muslim nations to impose all-out sanctions against Israel and clear the way for throwing weight behind the Intifada.

Explaining Mr. Khatami s hard words, Iranian analysts said supporting the legitimate cause of the Palestinians is "the only arena" where the reformists could steal the show from their conservative foes.

"Considering important and basic divergences among Arab and Palestinian groups concerning the Peace Process, the Conference is likely to bring Iranian feuding factions in the leadership closer to each other, even for few days, instead of harmonising the activities among the Palestinians", one political observer at the conference told Iran Press Service.

The conference is expected to provide support for the Palestinian Intifada, draw up strategy for the Palestinian uprising against occupation of the Palestinian territories and make decision on how to take practical steps to help the Palestinian struggle succeed in restoring the rights of the Palestinians.

The "star" of the day was Sheikh Hasan nasrollah, the leader of Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah who, amidst repeated applauses promised Israel that he would continue "jihadi" (holy) operations in support of the Palestinian uprising

"I m a man who stands by his words. Therefore, wait for me were you expect but especially where you don t", he warned.

Besides Hojjatoleslam Nasrollah, Mr. Khaled Mash al of the Islamic HAMAS movement and Mr. Ramezan Abdollah of the Iranian-created and financed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Ahmad Jibril also attended the meeting.

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Mohtashami says US criticism encourages Israeli "terrorism"

TEHRAN, April 25 (AFP) - A reformist heading a two-day international conference to support the Palestinian uprising said Wednesday that the unfavourable US reaction to the gathering would encourage Israeli "terrorism." Ali-Akbar Mohtashami, who heads the reformist faction in the Iranian parliament and helped found the militant Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas in the 1980s, blasted Washington's criticism of the conference.

The US State Department Tuesday slammed comments by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that Zionists collaborated with Nazis in exaggerating the Holocaust, and said the remarks, combined with Iran's hosting of the conference, were more evidence that Iran backed terrorism.

"Such statements do not solve the problems of Palestine and the Middle East but rather serve to generate others as well as encourage the Zionist regime to continue its acts of terrorism," said Mohtashami, Iran's former ambassador to Damascus and a close ally of President Mohammad Khatami, on the gathering's final day.

"This conference condemns terrorism in all its forms and believes that the Zionist regime is the very symbol of state terrorism," he added.

Earlier Wednesday the foreign ministry again rejected US State Department accusations that Tehran is supporting international terrorism.

Tehran "will continue its moral and humanitarian support of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon and of the Palestinians, and the agreement of the United States is not needed for that," ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said.

"On the other hand, Iran and the Islamic world condemn US support for the Israeli state's terrorism," he said.

Palestinian groups, as well as representatives from 34 Arab and Islamic nations, are attending the conference aimed at drumming up worldwide support for the seven-month-old Palestinian uprising or intifada.

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Islamic Jihad urges Muslims to fight Israel

By Jon Hemming

TEHRAN, April 25 (Reuters) - The head of the Palestinian armed militant group Islamic Jihad called on Wednesday for Muslim nations to unite and fight Israel as the only way to end the Middle East crisis.

"Muslim countries must unite against Israel and force it to recognise the legitimate rights of the Palestinians," Ramadam Abdullah Shalah was quoted as telling a conference in Tehran on the Palestinian "intifada", or uprising.

"The Zionist regime has proven that peace with her is not a good option," he was quoted by the state news agency IRNA as saying.

Iran hopes the seminar -- also attended by Palestinian group Hamas, Hizbollah of Lebanon and delegations from Arab and Muslim states -- will help attract financial and other support for the Palestinian cause and give a new impetus to its policy of no compromise towards Israel.

Iran has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel as the only solution to the conflict in the Middle East.

"We shall continue our struggles against Israel until we manage to bring the savage regime to its knees, even if it takes a century," said Shalah.

Speaker after speaker at the conference called for action, not just words. The meeting is expected to pass a motion late on Wednesday on practical steps against the Jewish state.

A representative of the Palestinian Authority cited the failure of the 1993 Oslo peace agreements with Israel and the subsequent peace process.

"Yes, we came to a dead end. As for Oslo it was a farce and a sand castle," said the speaker of the Palestine National Council, Salim Al-Zanun, to loud applause.

"For no sooner had (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon returned, all that we built in the past seven years was blown up."

Al-Zanun said there was no division between the Palestinian Authority and more radical Islamist groups.

"Brothers, we are united with the national and Islamic forces," he said. "This means all factions, including the Hamas Movement and Islamic Jihad."

Lebanese Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrullah said his group, which was instrumental in driving Israeli troops from southern Lebanon after an 18-year occupation, would also help.

"I tell you...we in Hizbollah and the Islamic resistance in Lebanon will not stand idly by," he said. "We will prove to them that the Palestinians are not alone in this battle."

At least 387 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 74 other Israelis have been killed during the uprising against Israeli occupation that began in late September.

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Khamenehe'i's irresponsible remarks backfired on the Palestinians

TEHRAN 26 Apr. (IPS) As the Conference to Support Palestine drew to an end Wednesday, political analysts said were not the stupidity of the inane Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenehe'i, the meeting could well serve the cause of the Palestinians and bring positive points for the badly lamed Iranian diplomacy.

In his inaugural speech on Tuesday, Mr. Khamenehe'i, inspired from works by revisionist writers, said "Zionists were co-operating with the Nazis in Germany and the number of the Jews killed by the Hitler regime were exaggerated in order to stir sympathy for the Jewish people and help Zionists occupation of Palestine".

His remarks met with serious concern in many Western capitals and drew sharp reaction from the US State Department Spokesman, who branded the Tehran meeting as a "gathering of terrorists".

"If the Western press are to retain anything from the conference, it certainly would be Mr. Khamenehe'i s absurd statement", observed Dr. Mansour Farhang, a professor of international policies with New York universities.

Some 300 people from 34 Arab and Islamic nations, including leaders of all Palestinian and Lebanese extremist groups opposed to the Peace Process attended the two-days meeting that was organised in Tehran, sponsored by the Iranian Majles (parliament).

"In fact the conference could achieve positive results for both the Palestinians and the Iranians, if participants would highlight issues such as the American double standard policy concerning the Palestinians and the Israelis or other matters offering Arabs states that have friendly ties with the United States the possibility to apply pressures on Washington", Mr. Farhang pointed out.

But the outrageous remarks by Ayatollah Khamenehe'i backfired on the Conference and ruined all hopes to see Palestinians getting more attentions from the West.

Other observers said Tehran was not a good place to host such a meeting, as the Iranian regime is itself under heavy criticism from international organisations for gross violation of human rights and the harsh treatment of its journalists and intellectuals.

"Obvious, one can accuse us for being more catholic than the pope, for, other Arab and Muslim nations or the Organisation of Islamic Conference could have also participate at the huge costs of the conference, paid entirely by Iran", said Mr. Sadeq Ziba Kalam, a professor of Political Science at Tehran university.

He said the organisers are vulnerable to critics addressed at the way the Iranian authorities are dealing with their own dissidents, being intellectuals, journalists, scholars or politicians.

He was referring to the bundle closure of more than 40 publications, most of them independent and pro-reforms as well as the imprisonment of a dozen of influential journalists and the recent arrest of sixty nationalist-religious and members of Iran Freedom Movement, all ordered by Ayatollah Khamenehe'i.

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Israel's foes want war crimes tribunal, boycott of US

TEHRAN, April 26 (AFP) - The Tehran conference in support of the Palestinian uprising closed here late Wednesday with a final statement calling for the creation of an international court to try Israeli "war crimes."

The document, signed by more than 30 nations, also condemns the United States for its political, military and economic support of Israel and calls for an Arab and Muslim boycott of US products.

More than 30 countries as well as Islamic militant movements opposed to the Middle East peace process attended the two-day conference, which featured fiery calls to step up the armed campaign against the Jewish state.

The final statement, hammered out after intense negotiations between Iranian officials and the visiting delegations, called on Islamic nations to "break all ties, especially political and economic" with Israel.

It denounced "organised crimes by Israel against the Palestinian people, the attacks against leaders of Palestinian movements, the destruction or the seizure of houses and land, as well as the development of Jewish sites."

The statement said an Arab and Islamic boycott of US goods was a "natural and necessary reaction to Washington's support for Israel" and warned of a "total and global embargo" if the United States goes ahead with plans to move its embassy in Israel into the disputed holy city of Jerusalem.

It also condemned what it called Israel's efforts to Judaise the city, which it said must be the capital of a future Palestinian state, and said Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile was "a threat to peace and stability in the region."

The conference was attended by Khaled Meshaal, political director of the radical Hamas movement, as well as the chief of the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

Washington said their attendance, and statements by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei alleging the Holocaust had been exaggerated to drum up sympathy for the 1948 creation of the state of Israel, showed Tehran was backing international terrorism.

Iran shrugged off the criticism and vowed to continue its "moral and humanitarian support of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon and of the Palestinians."

Iran has not recognized Israel since its 1979 Islamic revolution and has long denounced the US-brokered peace process between the Jewish state and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who was not represented at the conference.

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Official in Beirut to convey Khatami's message to Lebanese president

BBC Monitoring Service
May 2, 2001

Text of report in English by Iranian news agency IRNA

Beirut, 2 May: Iran's deputy foreign minister Mohammad Sadr here Wednesday [2 May] held talks with Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Birri on the Zionist threats to Lebanon. He told reporters that he will convey a message to President Emile Lahhud from President Mohammad Khatami.

Sadr said that his talks with Lebanese officials will focus on the outcome of the international conference on Palestinian intifadah (held in Tehran on 24-25 April) and the threats of the Zionist regime against Lebanon. Asked about the report released by the US State Department accusing the Palestinian people of being terrorists, Sadr said: "A nation which have embarked on campaign to liberate their territories by no means cannot be dubbed as terrorists. It is the undeniable right of every nation to fight for liberation of their territories."

He said: "The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the rights of nation who have engaged in campaign to liberate their homeland."

Sadr said that the Zionist regime is continuing its state terrorism against the Palestinian civilians with full support from the United States. The US support for the Zionist regime's state terrorism and its refusal to denounce the Zionist regime's policy is the point of discord between Iran and the United States, Sadr said.

Sadr arrived in Beirut on Tuesday night to convey a message from the Iranian president to President Lahhud and hold talks with Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmud Hammud and other officials.

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