Palestinian Fatah Official Declares Hope for Boost in Iran Ties

A top official from the Palestinian Fatah faction declared on Wednesday that his organization may move to bolster ties with Iran, after years in which Tehran had largely eschewed backing Fatah and had opted instead to provide military, financial, and diplomatic support to the more radical Hamas faction.

Speaking in an interview with a Lebanese news outlet, Rajoub said the Palestinian Authority was”willing to consider a renewal of Palestinian-Iranian ties.” “Our cards are shown and we are speaking frankly, we aren’t trying to cheat or manipulate anyone,” he told pan-Arab news network al-Mayadeen in an interview.

Fatah negotiators are currently engaged in peace talks with Israeli counterparts, while Iran and Hamas remain committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Hamas announced on Tuesday that it would never accept the two-state solution or give up “one inch of the land of Palestine.” Its announcement came in response to statements attributed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the effect that the Islamist movement had “authorized” him to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines. Hamas said it never gave Abbas or anyone else a mandate to agree to the two-state solution.

Jibril Rajoub, a top Palestinian official considered by Western diplomats to be a relatively moderate voice inside Palestinian polity, told a Lebanese outlet that the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) was “willing to consider a renewal of Palestinian-Iranian ties.” Iranian state media boasted that Rajoub had ‘praised the important role of the Islamic Republic in supporting the Palestinians and their cause and said Fatah and other Palestinian groups consider Iran as a main and influential player in the Middle East. Rajoub’s comments may prove particularly controversial if read alongside statements made by the Palestinian official last May, in which he reportedly declared “in the name of Allah, if we [the Palestinians] had nuclear weapons, we’d be using them.” Iran is widely assumed to be pursuing a nuclear weapon, and top global intelligence officials have long feared – per a 2012 Telegraph story on the issue – that “a nuclear-armed Iran would increase the chances of terrorists using a ‘dirty bomb’ in the future.”

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