Support for Palestine to Continue Despite Pressures

Support for Palestine to Continue Despite PressuresSupport for Palestine to Continue Despite Pressures

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran will not abandon the policy of supporting the Palestinian cause against Israel, even though the country has been subjected to nearly four decades of western pressure.

Addressing the Fifth Extraordinary OIC Summit on Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Monday, Zarif stressed that Tehran will honor its commitments toward Palestine.   

"Although it knows [considerable western] pressures on Iran are the result of its support for the Palestinian cause, Iran will continue the policy [to back Palestinians]," ISNA quoted Zarif as saying.

The Iranian minister further said Palestinians are victims of Israel's ruthless repression and the brutal occupation of the Zionist regime contravenes the basic principles of international law.

"The Israeli regime is using the cover of extremist Zionists ... to change the demographic composition of Al-Quds and Judaize it," he said.

Zarif blamed the United Nations' Security Council for not shouldering its responsibility–under the UN charter–to take action against Israel, which has made major threats against international peace and security, the main reason for which is the US support for Israel.

However, the Iranian minister further said many governmental and non-governmental players on the international scene have been objecting against Israeli policies. Zarif called on Muslims to put aside differences and take joint measures to end the Israeli occupation.

The foreign minister noted that Palestine tops the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's agenda, adding that nothing should divert the attention of members from the reason of being in the organization.

"As the first step on the path to achieve the complete liberation of Palestine, we should prevent the illegal efforts of Israeli occupiers to change the demographics of Al-Quds," he said. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the summit, Zarif condemned the "shameful" decision of some Muslim countries to normalize relations with Israel.

"At a time when the Zionist regime has faced severe criticism from the West and some western non-governmental organizations are taking stances against its crimes, it is a shame that some Muslim countries are balancing out the western attacks on the Zionist regime by engaging with it," he said.

The OIC summit on Palestine themed "United for Just Solution" opened in Jakarta on Monday.

Officials from 49 countries, plus the Middle East quartet (consisting of the UN, Russia, US and European Union) and permanent members of the UN Security Council, participated in the meeting.

Zarif, who arrived in Jakarta on Sunday, also met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday.

In the meeting, the two sides discussed ways of developing bilateral ties and exchanged views on latest regional developments.

Zarif delivered a letter from President Hassan Rouhani to Widodo, which was in response to a letter of Indonesian president to Rouhani in January. Later in the day, the foreign minister also met Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and called for boosting economic cooperation between the two countries.

The two officials discussed the problems of Muslim world and Middle East conflicts. Heading a large economic delegation, Zarif was in Jakarta on the first leg of a six-country, 11-day Asia-Pacific tour that he began on Saturday.

In the next stages, the foreign minister is expected to visit Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia to discuss expansion of political and economic ties, apart from reviewing efforts against extremism and terrorism.