Iran rejects Palestinian UN bid

Iran’s supreme leader on Saturday rejected the Palestinians’ United Nations (UN) statehood bid, saying any deal that accepted the existence of Israel would leave a “cancerous tumour” forever threatening the security of the Middle East.

As leader of a country under a long-standing threat of military action from Israel and the United States, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the Jewish state and its allies to expect “paralysing blows” that a Nato missile shield could not prevent.

“Any plan that seeks to divide Palestine is totally rejected,” Khamenei told a conference on the Palestinian issue.

“The two-state scheme, which has been clad in the self-righteousness of the acceptance of the Palestinian government and membership at the UN, is nothing but a capitulation to the demands of the Zionists or the recognition of the Zionist regime on Palestinian land,” he declared.

Israel’s US ally has vowed to veto the Palestinian request for full UN membership, now being discussed by a UN Security Council panel, if it goes to a vote.

Khamenei’s speech underlined Iran’s support for groups that oppose Israel, including Hamas, the Islamist faction which rules the Gaza Strip and which rejected the UN bid presented by President Mahmoud Abbas as “begging” for statehood.

The 72-year-old cleric also sought to portray Iran as the greatest defender of the Palestinian cause, criticising other countries in the region that have close ties to Washington. Two of these, Egypt and Jordan, have recognised Israel.

“Governments that host Zionist embassies or economic bureaus cannot advocate support for Palestine,” he said in comments aimed, among others, at post-Mubarak Egypt with which Tehran is seeking to restore the diplomatic ties cut since 1979.

While Washington seeks to accelerate a return to Israel-Palestinian talks in order to avoid a vote on statehood, Khamenei mocked Barack Obama’s support for Israel as a cynical ploy to retain the US presidency at next year’s election.

“In order to remain in power you have surrendered to humiliation and to the Zionists,” he said.

Iran is pursuing a nuclear programme that the US and Israel say aims to produce atomic bombs — a charge it denies.

Both countries say they do not rule out pre-emptive strikes on Iran to stop it getting the bomb. Tehran said it would hit back at Israel and US interests in the region and analysts say it could use allies, such as Lebanese Hezbollah, to retaliate.

“The West must either give up its bullying policies and recognise the Palestinians’ rights and avoid pursuing the Zionist regime’s bullying schemes. Otherwise it will face harsher blows in the near future,” Khamenei said.

He said a Nato early-warning radar system being deployed to protect the Western alliance from attacks by countries including Iran would be ineffective.

“What threatens the Zionist regime is not Iran’s missiles or the resistance, under the pretext of which they have set up the missile shield in the region.

“The main threat comes from the determination of those who no longer want America, Europe or their lackeys to rule over them. Of course [our] missiles will carry out their duties any time they feel a threat stemming from the enemy.” — Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Put the Veuve on ice – the Bold Women Award...

Now in its 50th year, the Veuve Clicquot Bold Women Award is launching in South Africa for the first time.

Massmart will not be profitable as long as it keeps...

Walmart bought Massmart in 2011 and over the past 10 years the share price of the group has decreased by 80%.

Cartoon: Are we back in the 20th century?

Carlos Amato asks if there's one last way we can regress as a species

The problem with Stalingrad is the cost, not the law

The tragedy is that few of us could afford to brief fine lawyers to fight all the way to the highest courts, but we are all paying for what is playing out on stage

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…